Therapeutic Hypothermia after Cardiac Arrest: What, Why, Who, and How
, is the CE in the July 2011 edition of the American Nurse Today
, the official Journal of the American Nurses Association.
Cardiac arrest outside the hospital kills roughly 250,000 Americans each year. Worldwide, the average survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is just 6%. And those who survive are at risk for neurologic injury. Historically, only about 20% of cardiac arrest survivors who remained comatose have awakened with a good neurologic outcome. Therapeutic hypothermia holds out the promise of improving these sobering statistics. This article reviews the physiologic changes that occur during and after cardiac arrest, focusing on how such changes cause neurologic deficits. It identifies the mechanisms, and adverse effects of therapeutic hypothermia and describes how to manage and prevent adverse effects.