Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) has gained popularity as a brain-protective strategy for victims of sudden cardiac death in whom return of spontaneous circulation has been achieved but coma persists. Trials have also demonstrated some advantageous effects of lowering core body temperature after stroke and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy of the newborn. In a variety of clinical conditions, TH is still being studied (eg, hepatic encephalopathy and traumatic brain injury). This study describes the historical development of TH, its current applications in emergency medicine, and its potential future uses.
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