What Is Therapeutic Hypothermia?
Therapeutic hypothermia, which lowers the patient's body temperature to levels between 32–34 °C (90–93 °F), is being used by critical care doctors at Cooper University Hospital. This helps to reduce the risk of ischemic injury to the brain following a period of insufficient blood flow. Periods of insufficient blood flow may be caused by cardiac arrest, stroke, or brain trauma.
Non-invasively induced therapeutic hypothermia has been shown to reduce mortality of successfully resuscitated cardiac arrest victims by 35 percent, and increase the chance of a good neurologic outcome by 39 percent.
Therapeutic hypothermia is initiated as soon as possible in patients facing possible ischemic injury, as time moderates hypothermia’s effectiveness. Data suggests that the earlier hypothermia is induced the better the subject’s outcome. However, therapeutic hypothermia remains partially effective even when initiated as long as 6 hours after collapse.
Cooper utilizes the Arctic Sun cooling system to induce hypothermia non-invasively. Fully conductive pads covering 40% of a patient's surface area circulate temperature-controlled fluid by means of negative pressure. The control module allows a patient's temperature to be altered at an approximate rate of 1.5 - 1.8 °C an hour to an accuracy of 0.2 °C, with less side effects than invasive procedures.