Therapeutic hypothermia and ischemic stroke: A literature review

Rizwan A Tahir, Aqueel H Pabaney
Surgical Neurology International 2016, 7 (Suppl 14): S381-6

BACKGROUND: Ischemic stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US. Clinical techniques aimed at helping to reduce the morbidity associated with stroke have been studied extensively, including therapeutic hypothermia. In this study, the authors review the literature regarding the role of therapeutic hypothermia in ischemic stroke to appreciate the evolution of hypothermia technology over several decades and to critically analyze several early clinical studies to validate its use in ischemic stroke.

METHODS: A comprehensive literature search was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar databases. Search terms included "hypothermia and ischemic stroke" and "therapeutic hypothermia." A comprehensive search of the current clinical trials using was conducted using the keywords "stroke and hypothermia" to evaluate early and ongoing clinical trials utilizing hypothermia in ischemic stroke.

RESULTS: A comprehensive review of the evolution of hypothermia in stroke and the current status of this treatment was performed. Clinical studies were critically analyzed to appreciate their strengths and pitfalls. Ongoing and future registered clinical studies were highlighted and analyzed compared to the reported results of previous trials.

CONCLUSION: Although hypothermia has been used for various purposes over several decades, its efficacy in the treatment of ischemic stroke is debatable. Several trials have proven its safety and feasibility; however, more robust, randomized clinical trials with large volumes of patients are needed to fully establish its utility in the clinical setting.

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