Prehospital surface cooling is safe and can reduce time to target temperature after cardiac arrest

Thomas Uray, Florian B Mayr, Peter Stratil, Stefan Aschauer, Christoph Testori, Fritz Sterz, Moritz Haugk
Resuscitation 2015, 87: 51-6

PURPOSE: Mild therapeutic hypothermia proved to be beneficial when induced after cardiac arrest in humans. Prehospital cooling with i.v. fluids was associated with adverse side effects. Our primary objective was to compare time to target temperature of out-of hospital cardiac arrest patients cooled non-invasively either in the prehospital setting vs. the in-hospital (IH) setting, to assess surface-cooling safety profile and long term outcome.

METHODS: In this retrospective, single center cohort study, a group of adult patients with restoration of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) after out-of hospital cardiac arrest were cooled with a surface cooling pad beginning either in the prehospital or IH setting for 24h. Time to target temperature (33.9°C), temperature on admission, time to admission after ROSC and outcome were compared. Also, rearrests and pulmonary edema were assessed. Neurologic outcome at 12 months was evaluated (Cerebral Performance Category, CPC 1-2, favorable outcome).

RESULTS: Between September 2005 and February 2010, 56 prehospital cooled patients and 54 IH-cooled patients were treated. Target temperature was reached in 85 (66-117)min (prehospital) and in 135 (102-192)min (IH) after ROSC (p<0.001). After prehospital cooling, hospital admission temperature was 35.2 (34.2-35.8)°C, and in the IH-cooling patients initial temperature was 35.8 (35.2-36.3)°C (p=0.001). No difference in numbers of rearrests and pulmonary edema between groups was observed. In both groups, no skin lesions were observed. Favorable outcome was reached in 26.8% (prehospital) and in 37.0% (IH) of the patients (p=0.17).

CONCLUSIONS: Using a non-invasive prehospital surface cooling method after cardiac arrest, target temperature can be reached faster without any major complications than starting cooling IH. The effect of early non-invasive cooling on long-term outcome remains to be determined in larger studies.

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