Nursing

News spotlight: Hope rises as body temperature drops with new cooling therapy

Nurse Leader Insider, February 2, 2009

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Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition rarely treated in the balmy climate of Palm Beach, FL, but hospitals there may soon be using it as a form of therapy.

City hospital representatives are investigating the use of therapeutic hypothermia after the state's Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council requested area hospitals offer it to treat heart attack victims. The therapy cools unconscious cardiac arrest patients' bodies to 32°C to 34°C for 12 to 24 hours following the return of natural circulation. This therapy has been shown to slow or avert the harmful chemicals that develop in the blood flow post-cardiac arrest from reaching the brain. Studies have found the therapy can reduce fatalities and brain damage in heart attack victims.

Therapeutic hypothermia is already provided in several U.S. hospitals and is endorsed by the American Heart Association, however, computer-regulated hypothermic therapy equipment comes at a price tag of about $30,000, a cost that may make it prohibitive for some facilities.

Source: Palm Beach Daily News



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