Improved Neurological Outcome With Mild Hypothermia in Surviving Patients With Massive Cerebral Hemispheric Infarction

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

We conducted this randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of therapeutic hypothermia on mortality and neurological outcome in patients with massive cerebral hemispheric infarction.

Methods—

Patients within 48 hours of symptom onset were randomized to either a hypothermia group or a control group. Patients in the hypothermia group were given standard medical treatment plus endovascular hypothermia with a target temperature of 33 or 34°C. Hypothermia was maintained for a minimum of 24 hours. Patients in the control group were given standard medical treatment only with a target temperature of normothermia. The primary end points were mortality and the modified Rankin Scale score at 6 months.

Results—

There were 16 patients in the hypothermia group and 17 patients in the control group. At 6 months, 8 patients had died in the hypothermia group versus 7 patients in the control group (P=0.732). The main cause of death was fatal herniation caused by a pronounced rise in intracranial pressure. Seven patients (43.8%) had a modified Rankin Scale of 1 to 3 in the hypothermia group versus 4 patients (23.5%) in the control group (P=0.282). Additionally, of the survivors, patients in the hypothermia group achieved better neurological outcomes compared with those in the control group (7/8, 87.5% versus 4/10, 40.0%; P=0.066; odds ratio=10.5; 95% confidence interval, 0.9–121.4).

Conclusions—

Mild hypothermia seems to not reduce mortality in patients with massive cerebral hemispheric infarction but may improve the neurological outcome in survivors. An adequately powered multicenter randomized controlled trial seems warranted.

Clinical Trial Registration—

URL: http://www.chictr.org.cn. Unique identifier: ChiCTR-TCS-12002680.

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