Induced hypothermia after cardiac arrest in trauma patients: a case series

J Trauma. 2011 Dec;71(6):1524-7. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31823c5a06.


Background: Induced hypothermia after cardiac arrest is an accepted neuroprotective strategy. However, its role in cardiac arrest during acute trauma care is not yet defined. To characterize recent experience with this technique at our center, we undertook a detailed chart review of acute trauma patients managed with induced hypothermia after cardiac arrest.

Patients: From Trauma Registry records, we identified all adult patients (older than 17 years) admitted to our Level I trauma center from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2010, who experienced cardiac arrest during acute trauma care and were managed via our induced hypothermia protocol. This requires maintenance of core body temperature between 32°C and 34°C for 24 hours after arrest. Patient clinical records were then reviewed for selected factors.

Results: Six acute trauma patients (3 male and 3 female; median age, 53 years) with cardiac arrest managed per protocol were identified. All injuries were due to blunt impact, and five of six injuries were motor-vehicle-associated. Median Injury Severity Score was 27; median prearrest Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 15. One patient arrested prehospital and the other 5 in-hospital. Median duration of arrest was 8 minutes. All were comatose after arrest. One death occurred, in the patient with a prehospital cardiac arrest. Two patients were discharged to chronic care facilities with GCS11-tracheostomy; three were discharged to active rehabilitation care facilities with GCS score of 14 to 15. There were no obvious complications related to cooling.

Conclusions: Mild induced hypothermia can be beneficial in a selected group of trauma patients after cardiac arrest. Prospective trials are needed to explore the effects of targeted temperature management on coagulation in this patient group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Heart Arrest / etiology*
  • Heart Arrest / mortality
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Hospital Mortality / trends
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced / methods*
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / complications
  • Multiple Trauma / diagnosis
  • Multiple Trauma / mortality
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Trauma Centers
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality