Twenty minutes of normothermic cardiac arrest in a pig model: the role of short-term hypothermia for neurological outcome

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Introduction:Cardiopulmonary resuscitation restores circulation, but with inconsistent blood-flow and pressures. Our recent approach using an extracorporeal life support system, named “controlled integrated resuscitation device” (CIRD), may lead to improved survival and neurological recovery after cardiac arrest (CA). The basic idea is to provide a reperfusion tailored to the individual patient by control of the conditions of reperfusion and the composition of the reperfusate. Hypothermia is one aspect of this concept. Here, we investigated the role of immediate short-term blood cooling after experimental CA and its influence on survival and neurological recovery.Methods:Twenty-one pigs were exposed to 20 minutes of normothermic CA. Afterwards, CIRD was immediately started for 60 minutes in all animals and the heart was converted to a sinus rhythm. The pigs either received normothermic reperfusion (37°C, n=11) or the temperature was maintained at 32°C for the first 30 minutes (n=10). Thermometric, hemodynamic and serologic data were collected during the experiment. After weaning from CIRD, neurological recovery was assessed daily by a species-specific neurological deficit score (NDS; 0: normal; 500: brain death).Results:One pig in each group could not be successfully resuscitated. Due to severe neurological deficits, only 6/11 animals in the normothermic group finished the observation time of seven days with an NDS of 37±34. In the hypothermic group, all nine surviving animals reached day seven with an NDS of 16±13. Analogous to the lower NDS, animals in the hypothermic group also showed lower neuron-specific enolase end values as a marker of brain injury.Conclusions:Within this experimental setting, immediate moderate and short-term hypothermia after CA improves survival and seems to result in statistically non-significant better neurological recovery.

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