Cooling techniques in mild hypothermia after cardiac arrest

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Abstract

Therapeutic hypothermia has been shown to reduce brain damage due to postcardiac arrest syndrome. Actually, there is no agreement on which is the best device to perform therapeutic hypothermia. The ‘ideal’ device should not only ‘cool’ patient until 33–34°C as fast as possible, but also maintain the target temperature and reverse the therapeutic hypothermia. For out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, there are devices that allow starting of therapeutic hypothermia on the field (prehospital hypothermia). On hospital arrival, these prehospital devices can be quickly and easily replaced with other devices more suitable for the management of therapeutic hypothermia in ICUs (in-hospital hypothermia). Some studies have compared surface and endovascular devices and found no substantial differences in neurologic outcome or survival at hospital discharge. On a clinical ground, the knowledge of the technical aspects of therapeutic hypothermia (such as characteristics of devices) is mandatory for clinicians who have to perform therapeutic hypothermia in cardiac arrest patients because the timing of therapeutic hypothermia, the choice of the device for the single patients, and avoidance of temperature fluctuation have shown to affect outcome in these patients (also in terms of reducing the incidence of complications).

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