Cooling may benefit children after cardiac arrest

November 9, 2010

When the heart is stopped and restarted, the patient's life may be saved but the brain is often permanently damaged. Therapeutic hypothermia, a treatment in which the patient's body temperature is lowered and maintained several degrees below normal for a period of time, has been shown to mitigate these harmful effects and improve survival in adults.

Now, in the first large-scale multicenter study of its kind, physician-scientists are evaluating the effectiveness of the technique in infants and . Offered in the greater New York metropolitan area solely by Columbia University Medical Center researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, the Therapeutic Hypothermia After Pediatric Cardiac Arrest (THAPCA) trial is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

"A tragedy no matter how it happens, cardiac arrest can occur in children either as a complication from a serious medical condition or due to an accident or sudden illness. While arrest in children is rare, currently no other therapies have been shown to improve their chances of recovering," says Dr. Charles Schleien, a pediatrician and anesthesiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and executive vice chairman of pediatrics and professor of pediatrics and anesthesiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "In this study we are aiming to see whether therapeutic hypothermia can give these children a better chance at survival and long-term quality of life."

According to a 2008 review of pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the , about 16,000 children suffer each year in the United States.

Study participants will be randomly selected to either have their body cooled through or maintained at normal body temperature. In both groups, body heat will be adjusted using special temperature-control blankets. Those receiving hypothermia will have their body temperature reduced to between 89.6º and 93.2º Fahrenheit for two days, then slowly increased to a normal body temperature and maintained for another three days.

Co-led by Dr. Frank W. Moler at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Dr. Michael Dean at the University of Utah, the six-year study involves a total of 34 study sites in North America.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.