Prolonged mild therapeutic hypothermia versus fever control with tight hemodynamic monitoring and slow rewarming in patients with severe traumatic brain injury: a randomized controlled trial

Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Susumu Yamashita, Seigo Nagao, Nariyuki Hayashi, Yasuo Ohashi
Journal of Neurotrauma 2015 April 1, 32 (7): 422-9
Although mild therapeutic hypothermia is an effective neuroprotective strategy for cardiac arrest/resuscitated patients, and asphyxic newborns, recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have equally shown good neurological outcome between targeted temperature management at 33 °C versus 36 °C, and have not shown consistent benefits in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). We aimed to determine the effect of therapeutic hypothermia, while avoiding some limitations of earlier studies, which included patient selection based on Glasgow coma scale (GCS), delayed initiation of cooling, short duration of cooling, inter-center variation in patient care, and relatively rapid rewarming. We conducted a multicenter RCT in patients with severe TBI (GCS 4-8). Patients were randomly assigned (2:1 allocation ratio) to either therapeutic hypothermia (32-34 °C, n = 98) or fever control (35.5-37 °C, n = 50). Patients with therapeutic hypothermia were cooled as soon as possible for ≥ 72 h and rewarmed at a rate of <1 °C/day. All patients received tight hemodynamic monitoring under intensive neurological care. The Glasgow Outcome Scale was assessed at 6 months by physicians who were blinded to the treatment allocation. The overall rates of poor neurological outcomes were 53% and 48% in the therapeutic hypothermia and fever control groups, respectively. There were no significant differences in the likelihood of poor neurological outcome (relative risk [RR] 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62-2.48, p = 0.597) or mortality (RR 1.82, 95% CI 0.82-4.03, p = 0.180) between the two groups. We concluded that tight hemodynamic management and slow rewarming, together with prolonged therapeutic hypothermia (32-34 °C) for severe TBI, did not improve the neurological outcomes or risk of mortality compared with strict temperature control (35.5-37 °C).

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