Did you know that out-of-hospital cardiac arrests claim 225,000 lives each year in the United States alone, and a similar number in Europe, accounting for about half of all deaths due to cardiovascular ailment? Even when resuscitation efforts are successful, recovery is too often limited because of the absence of hypothermic therapy or proper body cooling aids!
Therapeutic hypothermia is the first therapy recommended as it shows benefits in improving survival as well as limiting neurologic injury.
What is therapeutic hypothermia and how does it protect against cardiac arrest?
Therapeutic hypothermia is also known as targeted temperature management or protective hypothermia is an active treatment that involves keeping the body temperature of a person in check for a specific duration of time. This therapy is generally administered to improve health outcomes during recovery after a period of stopped blood flow to the brain.
Cardiac arrest is a condition when the heart suddenly stops beating and hence the blood flow to different organs of the body including the brain, stops. The lack of blood flow can cause lasting damage to the brain which is the reason why many people don’t regain their consciousness. Lowering the body temperature right away after cardiac arrest can reduce damage to the brain and raises the chances of the person’s recovery.
Once the heart starts beating again, healthcare providers use cooling devices to lower the body temperature for a short time. It is maintained around 89°F to 93°F (32°C to 34°C) and the treatment usually lasts about 24 hours.
This procedure however is useful only in cases when the heartbeat has restarted but the person is still unresponsive. It raises the chances of the person recovering faster. In cases when the heartbeat doesn’t restart, this may not be helpful. Also, if people regain their consciousness right after cardiac arrest, this procedure is not required.
What happens during the therapeutic hypothermia procedure?
Therapeutic hypothermia procedures are started for a patient within 4 to 6 hours of the cardiac arrest. Different medical care practitioners may employ different methods. However, the quicker cooling can be commenced, the higher chances of a positive outcome. Arctic Heat MediCool is the only fully portable cooling kit that can be carried in an Ambulance. Cooling can be started by the Paramedics and continued uninterrupted through the required cooling time.
High-quality cooling blankets or cooling pads like the ones available with Arctic Heat are used to bring the temperature of the ailing person’s body down. Ice packs are also used alternatively, some practitioners may use internal cooling methods. Chilled fluids can be given through an IV (intravenous) line into the bloodstream. These methods are intrusive and can lead to side effects.
It is possible that therapeutic hypothermia treatment is carried out alongside other treatments like heart catheterization, in cases of cardiac arrest that have been caused by a heart attack.
The patient is kept in observation, in the intensive care unit, where the medical team keeps a close watch. Depending on the seriousness of the condition, a person may be kept on ventilator People generally take a couple of days to recover; at least a minimum of three days is necessary to see how the cardiac arrest has affected the brain and if the person responds to the therapeutic hypothermia procedure.
Injured patient on operating bed while nurse working in operating theatre.
Research shows that with the help of revolutionary products like Arctic Heat Medical kit, people do recover after therapeutic hypothermia and with no lasting brain or organ injury.
MediCool kit from Arctic Heat consists of caps, blankets, and cooling pads that are portable, safe, and easy to use; they can be used in ambulances apart from being widely used in intensive care units of hospitals.