Induction of Cooling With a Passive Head and Neck Cooling Device: Effects on Brain Temperature After Stroke

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Background and Purpose—

Therapeutic hypothermia improves clinical outcome after cardiac arrest and appears beneficial in other cerebrovascular diseases. We conducted this study to investigate the relationship between surface head/neck cooling and brain temperature.


Prospective observational study enrolling consecutive patients with severe ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke undergoing intracranial pressure (ICP) and brain temperature monitoring. Arterial pressure, ICP, cerebral perfusion pressure, heart rate, brain, tympanic, and bladder temperature were continuously registered. Fifty-one applications of the Sovika cooling device were analyzed in 11 individual patients.


Sovika application led to a significant decrease of brain temperature compared with baseline with a maximum of −0.36°C (SD, 0.22) after 49 minutes (SD, 17). During cooling, dynamics of brain temperature differed significantly from bladder (−0.25°C [SD, 0.15] after 48 minutes [SD, 19]) and tympanic temperature (−1.79°C [SD, 1.19] after 37 minutes [SD, 16]). Treatment led to an increase in systolic arterial pressure by >20 mm Hg in 14 applications (n=7 patients) resulting in severe hypertension (>180 mm Hg) in 4 applications (n=3). ICP increased by >10 mm Hg in 7 applications (n=3), led to ICP crisis >20 mm Hg in 6 applications (n=3), and a drop of cerebral perfusion pressure <50 mm Hg in 1 application.


Although the decrease of brain temperature after Sovika cooling device application was statistically significant, we doubt clinical relevance of this rather limited effect (−0.36°C). Moreover, the transient increases of blood pressure and ICP warrant caution.

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