Intensive care for brain injury after cardiac arrest: therapeutic hypothermia and related neuroprotective strategies

Romergryko G Geocadin, Matthew A Koenig, Robert D Stevens, Mary Ann Peberdy
Critical Care Clinics 2006, 22 (4): 619-36; abstract viii
Neurologic injury is the predominant cause of poor functional outcome in patients who are resuscitated from cardiac arrest. The management of these patients in the ICU can be challenging because of the paucity of effective therapies and lack of readily available diagnostic and prognostic tools. After several decades of failed pharmacologic neuroprotection trials, recent and well-designed randomized trials showed that therapeutic hypothermia is an effective neuroprotective measure in comatose survivors of cardiac arrest. Therapeutic hypothermia has been recommended by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation and has been incorporated in the American Heart Association CPR Guidelines. The American Academy of Neurology recently enhanced the delivery of care in survivors of cardiac arrest by providing evidence-based practice parameters on the prediction of poor outcome in comatose survivors of cardiac arrest, based on clinical evaluation and diagnostic tests. This article discusses these advances and their potential impact on the care provided in the ICU.

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