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Body Cooling May Help Brain After Cardiac Arrest


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By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 10, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Cooling the body may reduce the risk of brain damage for cardiac arrest patients in a coma, a leading group of U.S. neurologists says.

The new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology recommends that families of these patients ask if their loved one qualifies for body cooling.

“People who are in a coma after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest require complex neurologic and medical care, and neurologists can play a key role in improving outcomes by providing body cooling,” said guideline committee chair Dr. Romergryko Geocadin.

This guideline recommends that cooling be used more often for patients who qualify, said Geocadin, who is with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

In cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops beating. This means blood and oxygen no longer flow to the brain. The longer the heart goes without beating, the greater the risk of brain damage or death.

Research suggests that body cooling reduces the risk of brain damage in cardiac arrest patients. The body is cooled on the surface with cold packs or special blankets, or internally with devices that cool the blood inside the vessels, according to a news release from the academy.

The guideline authors found “strong evidence” that cooling the body to 89.6 to 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours (called therapeutic hypothermia) improves the chance of recovering brain function. “Moderate evidence” supported an approach called targeted temperature management — keeping the body at 96.8 degrees F for 24 hours followed by re-warming to 99.5 degrees F over eight hours.

“While there has been debate about which cooling protocol is best, our guideline found that both therapies have shown the same result,” Geocadin said in the news release. “Families may want to ask their doctor if their loved one qualifies for body cooling.”

The guideline, based on a review of studies conducted over the last 50 years, was published online May 10 in the journal Neurology.

Future studies should attempt to determine optimal temperatures, rates of cooling and re-warming the body, and which cooling methods work best, according to the guideline.


Trio band together to save a life

HEROES ON THE DAY: Alvaro Valdivia, Judy Johnston and Terry Butler were at the right place at the right time and with the right training.

HEROES ON THE DAY: Alvaro Valdivia, Judy Johnston and Terry Butler were at the right place at the right time and with the right training.

Mark Jennings’ day was unlike any other normal day working on site for Telstra at Milbrae in Leeton repairing a fault.

Office manager Judy Johnston was making preparations to finalize business for the day.

She went outside to let Mr Jennings know that they were going to lock up for the day.

“I turned around and said to her that I’d fixed it and that’s when I fell on the ground,” Mr Jennings said.

“We were talking quite naturally and then he just fell to the ground,” Mrs Johnston said.

After calling out to Mr Jennings without a response, Mrs Johnston snapped to action and called for help.

Mr Butler and Mr Valdivia heard the cry for help and came running.

“We’d listened to him breathing,” Mr Butler said.

“All of a sudden he just stopped breathing.

“He turned blue around his lips, we checked his pulse and he had no pulse.”

Mr Butler and Mr Valdivia started CPR while Mrs Johnston called triple-0.

Within a few minutes the pair were able to revive Mr Jennings and he regained consciousness before the ambulance arrived.

“I came to with her and two blokes over the top of me,” Mr Jennings said, not fully aware at the time what had occurred.

”It was a really good team effort,” Mr Butler said.

“While I was doing CPR I looked over my shoulder and Judy already had rung triple-0.”

The duo had only recently completed a refresher course on CPR through work.

Everyone was glad they were on hand, trained and ready to act.

Having taken the training courses multiple times, the duo remembered discussing using the training with the instructor.

“I said here we go again, when am I going to use this,” Mr Valdivia said.

Their instructor mentioned that in all the years he’d been teaching the courses, he’d never actually had to put it to use.

“With the team we had in place, with Judy and Al, everything just fell into place,” said Mr Butler.

In addition to first aid and CPR training, everyone recommended loading the Emergency + smartphone app on their smartphones.

The application is designed to provide the information you need to get help to a location quickly.

It can dial triple-0 directly from the app and provides your location to be able to give to emergency personnel in both a street address or GPS coordinates.

Fortunately for Mr Jennings, the right people were on hand to offer first aid immediately and saved his life and show how important it is to be trained to perform CPR.