Objective: Mild therapeutic hypothermia (MTH) has been integrated into international resuscitation guidelines. In the majority of patients, sudden cardiac arrest is caused by myocardial infarction. This study investigated whether a combination of MTH with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is feasible, safe, and potentially beneficial in patients after cardiac arrest due to acute myocardial infarction.
Design: Single-center observational study with a historical control group.
Setting: University clinic.
Patients: Thirty-three patients after cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation as initial rhythm and restoration of spontaneous circulation who remained unconscious at admission and presented with acute ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Interventions: In 16 consecutive patients (2005-2006), MTH was initiated immediately after admission and continued during primary PCI. Seventeen consecutive patients who were treated in a similar 2-yr observation interval before implementation of MTH (2003-2004) served as a control group. Feasibility, safety, mortality, and neurologic outcome were documented.
Measurements and main results: Initiation of MTH did not result in longer door-to-balloon times compared with the control group (82 vs. 85 mins), indicating that implementation of MTH did not delay the onset of primary PCI. Target temperature (32-34 degrees C) in the MTH group was reached within 4 hrs, consistent with previous trials and suggesting that primary PCI did not affect the velocity of cooling. Despite a tendency to increased bleeding complications and infections, patients treated with MTH tended to have a lower mortality after 6 months (25% vs. 35%, p = .71) and an improved neurologic outcome as determined by a Glasgow-Pittsburgh Cerebral Performance Scale score of 1 or 2 (69% vs. 47% in the control group, p = .30).
Conclusions: MTH in combination with primary PCI is feasible and safe in patients resuscitated after cardiac arrest due to acute myocardial infarction. A combination of these therapeutic procedures should be strongly considered as standard therapy in patients after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest due to STEMI.