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Mild hypothermia during prolonged cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation increases conscious survival in dogs.

OBJECTIVE: Therapeutic hypothermia during cardiac arrest and after restoration of spontaneous circulation enables intact survival after prolonged cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR). The effect of cooling during CPCR is not known. We hypothesized that mild to moderate hypothermia during CPCR would increase the rate of neurologically intact survival after prolonged cardiac arrest in dogs.

DESIGN: Randomized, controlled study using a clinically relevant cardiac arrest outcome model in dogs.

SETTING: University research laboratory.

SUBJECTS: Twenty-seven custom-bred hunting dogs (19-29 kg; three were excluded from outcome evaluation).

INTERVENTIONS: Dogs were subjected to cardiac arrest no-flow of 3 mins, followed by 7 mins of basic life support and 10 mins of simulated unsuccessful advanced life support attempts. Another 20 mins of advanced life support continued with four treatments: In control group 1 (n = 7), CPCR was with normothermia; in group 2 (n = 6, 1 of 7 excluded), with moderate hypothermia via venovenous extracorporeal shunt cooling to tympanic temperature 27 degrees C; in group 3 (n = 6, 2 of 8 excluded), the same as group 2 but with mild hypothermia, that is, tympanic temperature 34 degrees C; and in group 4 (n = 5), with normothermic venovenous shunt. After 40 mins of ventricular fibrillation, reperfusion was with cardiopulmonary bypass for 4 hrs, including defibrillation to achieve spontaneous circulation. All dogs were maintained at mild hypothermia (tympanic temperature 34 degrees C) to 12 hrs. Intensive care was to 96 hrs.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Overall performance categories and neurologic deficit scores were assessed from 24 to 96 hrs. Regional and total brain histologic damage scores and extracerebral organ damage were assessed at 96 hrs. In normothermic groups 1 and 4, all 12 dogs achieved spontaneous circulation but remained comatose and (except one) died within 58 hrs with multiple organ failure. In hypothermia groups 2 and 3, all 12 dogs survived to 96 hrs without gross extracerebral organ damage (p < .0001). In group 2, all but one dog achieved overall performance category 1 (normal); four of six dogs had no neurologic deficit and normal brain histology. In group 3, all dogs achieved good functional outcome with normal or near-normal brain histology. Myocardial damage scores were worse in the normothermic groups compared with both hypothermic groups (p < .01).

CONCLUSION: Mild or moderate hypothermia during prolonged CPCR in dogs preserves viability of extracerebral organs and improves outcome.

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