Efficacy of therapeutic hypothermia after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation

Guillaume Belliard, Emmanuel Catez, Cyril Charron, Vincent Caille, Philippe Aegerter, Olivier Dubourg, François Jardin, Antoine Vieillard-Baron
Resuscitation 2007, 75 (2): 252-9

AIM OF THE STUDY: We investigated implementation and efficacy of mild therapeutic hypothermia in the treatment of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two periods were compared, an historical one (36 patients) between 2000 and 2002 where therapeutic hypothermia was never used, and a recent period (32 patients) between 2003 and 2005 where therapeutic hypothermia (32-34 degrees C) was implemented prospectively in our unit. Cooling was obtained by simply using wet cloths and ice packs. Survival in the two groups and factors associated with survival were analysed, together with the neurological prognosis in discharged patients.

RESULTS: Survival was significantly higher in the hypothermia group (56% versus 36%), whereas no significant difference was observed in severity between the two periods. Only age, time from return to spontaneous circulation <20min, and therapeutic hypothermia were independently associated with survival. Therapeutic hypothermia was well tolerated and was associated with a significant improvement in neurological outcome. Whereas only 23% of patients actually reached the target temperature in 2003, 100% did in 2005.

CONCLUSION: Therapeutic hypothermia is efficient in significantly improving survival and neurological outcome of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation. By using a simple method, it can be implemented easily and quickly, without side effects.

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