Induced Hypothermia in Neurocritical Care: A Review

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Induced hypothermia (IH) continues to become a more prevalent treatment modality in neurocritical care. Reducing core temperature has been shown to protect brain tissue during injury and disease. IH has been particularly beneficial in the medical management of refractory intracranial hypertension and malignant cerebral edema. These pathologies are often the result of diffuse cerebral edema after traumatic brain injury, malignant ischemic stroke, or intracerebral hemorrhage. Although there are many benefits to IH, it is not without complications. Chief among these is shivering, which decreases oxygen delivery to brain tissue, increases metabolic demands, and consequently reduces nutrient delivery. This article will review indications for IH administration, methods of providing IH, nursing responsibilities, and identifying and/or managing complications.

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