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Posts Tagged ‘therapeutic hypothermia’

Non-Pharmacological Therapy for Heart Cases

by admin on: April 4th, 2011

Not all effective therapies involve pharmacologic treatments. In fact, many of the preferred therapies seek to avoid medicines, as medicines are associated with adverse effects. One new therapy being tried in New York City involves cooling a patient???s body temperature while on route to the hospital; this therapy is called ???therapeutic hypothermia.??? Approximately 20 hospitals in New York City began employing this technique in January 2009 which can involve simply packing the patient???s body with cold packs, injecting a chilled saline solution into a vein (or bone), or more advanced techniques. Since the start of this three-year pilot study, 43 hospitals are now using this technique.

The goal of therapeutic hypothermia is to reduce the patient???s temperature by six degrees for approximately 24 hours. The reason for cooling the body temperature is that lowering a patient???s temperature slows the brain???s demand for oxygen; this reduction in the need for oxygen results in less damage to the cells of the brain that occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen.

Since the start of this program, there have been about 2,600 cardiac patients who were eligible for this new therapy???New York City paramedics respond to about 15,000 calls each year from people who report symptoms associated with a heart attack. According to city officials, the survival rates of patients who have therapeutic hypothermia have increased by about 20 percent. In addition, patients who undergo this therapy and are revived using a defibrillator increased by nearly seven percent. New York City is one of the first cities in the United States using this form of therapy for patients who suffer cardiac arrest. The hospitals that have been employing this technique have been encouraged, according to the Vice President for Regulatory and Professional Affairs for the Greater New York Hospital Association.