2017 Apr - Is there still a role for hypothermia in neurocritical care?

Frank, Florian; Broessner, Gregor; Current Opinion in Critical Care . 23(2):115-121, April 2017.

Purpose of review: Therapeutic hypothermia (i.e. induced body core temperature ≈ 33–35°C) in neurological patients with cerebrovascular disease and traumatic brain injury is a controversially discussed issue in the literature. In this review, we have included the most recently published research covering the use of therapeutic hypothermia and targeted temperature management in neurologic diseases and translated the results into a clinical decision support for the professional healthcare community.

Recent findings: Recent findings from large multicenter studies investigating therapeutic hypothermia in patients with various acute neurologic diseases have revealed that although short-term and long-term temperature modulation on different temperature levels is feasible with the latest device technology, the effect on outcome is controversial.

Summary: There is overwhelming evidence that fever is an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality in patients with acute severe neurologic diseases. Although therapeutic hypothermia has been proven to be a potent neuroprotective measure acting on various levels in animal models, many questions such as optimal depth of target temperature, speed of rewarming, duration of cooling and management of side-effects accompanying therapeutic hypothermia are unresolved in human. Therefore, the application of therapeutic hypothermia outside of strictly supervised clinical trials must be carefully considered.

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