Preventing Severe Brain Injuries By Cooling The Body

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A assessment printed on this week’s The Lancet claims
that induced hypothermia is underused within the UK and within the USA. This
apply of intentionally cooling the physique is able to stopping or
limiting everlasting accidents whether it is employed inside the first couple
hours of a scientific occasion.

Dr Kees Polderman (College Medical Heart Utrecht, Netherlands)
first cites proof that has demonstrated improved outcomes after
ischemic harm (discount in blood provide) when physique temperature is
lowered from 37ºC to between 32- 35ºC – a degree of delicate hypothermia.
Although constructive results have been proven most clearly for mind
accidents, it’s possible that physique temperature discount can positively
profit accidents to the guts and kidneys, amongst different organs. The
apply has already been used to deal with heart attack and stroke.

“Hypothermia is a extremely promising remedy in neurocritical care;
thus, physicians caring for sufferers with neurological accidents, each
in and out of doors the intensive care unit, are more likely to be confronted
with questions on temperature administration extra ceaselessly,” says

There are three phases within the strategy of reducing physique temperature.
Induction first cools the physique to a specified temperature – normally
via the extremely efficient and protected methodology of chilly fluid (4ºC)
infusion. The second section entails upkeep, which will be
for a number of days if the hypothermia is induced to deal with traumatic mind
accidents. The third section, rewarming, should be sluggish and
managed. The charges are normally about zero.2 to zero.5ºC per hour
in cardiac arrest sufferers and even slower in sufferers with traumatic
mind harm. Research on animals have demonstrated that fast rewarming
results in antagonistic outcomes whereas sluggish rewarming maintains the advantages
of the temperature discount.

The assessment discusses a number of physiological causes for decrease physique
temperature’s harm safety capabilities. Since decrease temperatures
scale back the permeability of the blood mind barrier (the membrane that
protects the mind from chemical compounds within the blood), mind harm
sufferers can restrict injury from trauma or blood vessel blockage. Induced
hypothermia also can restrict the speed of formation of small blood clots,
or thrombi, which might happen after mind accidents. Moreover, the
immune response is depressed by decrease physique
temperatures, stopping inflammatory reactions that might
hurt the mind or different organs after harm. Fever prevention can be
seen as a sensible use, as fever growth can additional hurt sufferers
with mind accidents.

“Use of delicate hypothermia appears to be a significant breakthrough within the
remedy of neurological accidents… Research that set up optimum
depth and length of cooling are additionally wanted. Growing proof
means that fever is dangerous to the injured mind, and it appears
affordable to keep up normothermia in most sufferers with neurological
accidents who’ve decreased consciousness – particularly in these
beforehand handled with hypothermia – for no less than 72 hours after harm.
Hypothermia stays broadly underused in lots of international locations, particularly in
the USA and, to a lesser extent, the UK and Germany; subsequently,
making use of the present proof and dealing on implementation methods
must be a precedence,” concludes Polderman.

Induced hypothermia and fever management for prevention and
remedy of neurological accidents

Ok H Polderman
The Lancet (2008). 371[9628]:
p 1955.
Here to View Journal Website

Written by: Peter M Crosta

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