Therapeutic hypothermia may sound like an oxymoron, but induced hypothermia has proven to be useful in preventing brain injury caused by heart attacks. The American Journal of Nursing (AJN) published a CE article about the benefits of using mild hypothermia on cardiac arrest patients. Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, and even when one recovers from an episode, there is no guarantee of normal brain function after resuscitation if blood flow to the brain is not restored minutes after cardiac arrest.
In the article, the use of mild hypothermia as therapy is studied in cases of cardiac arrest. The findings showed that although death from brain injury is common after cardiac arrest, patients who were cooled to a core temperature between 89.6°F (32°C) and 93.2°F (34°C), they were more likely to survive and to have a better neurological outcome.
Mild hypothermia as therapy is not commonly used in treatment of those experiencing cardiac arrest. In order for it to be effective, the treatment must be applied shortly after reperfusion. This kind of treatment was first studied in the 1990’s on animals, but has yet to catch on in most medical practice.
For more about the treatment, read the AJN publication.