Targeted Temperature Management for Cardiac Arrest with Nonshockable Rhythm

N Engl J Med. 2019 Dec 12;381(24):2327-2337. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1906661. Epub 2019 Oct 2.


Background: Moderate therapeutic hypothermia is currently recommended to improve neurologic outcomes in adults with persistent coma after resuscitated out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. However, the effectiveness of moderate therapeutic hypothermia in patients with nonshockable rhythms (asystole or pulseless electrical activity) is debated.

Methods: We performed an open-label, randomized, controlled trial comparing moderate therapeutic hypothermia (33°C during the first 24 hours) with targeted normothermia (37°C) in patients with coma who had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) after resuscitation from cardiac arrest with nonshockable rhythm. The primary outcome was survival with a favorable neurologic outcome, assessed on day 90 after randomization with the use of the Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) scale (which ranges from 1 to 5, with higher scores indicating greater disability). We defined a favorable neurologic outcome as a CPC score of 1 or 2. Outcome assessment was blinded. Mortality and safety were also assessed.

Results: From January 2014 through January 2018, a total of 584 patients from 25 ICUs underwent randomization, and 581 were included in the analysis (3 patients withdrew consent). On day 90, a total of 29 of 284 patients (10.2%) in the hypothermia group were alive with a CPC score of 1 or 2, as compared with 17 of 297 (5.7%) in the normothermia group (difference, 4.5 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.1 to 8.9; P = 0.04). Mortality at 90 days did not differ significantly between the hypothermia group and the normothermia group (81.3% and 83.2%, respectively; difference, -1.9 percentage points; 95% CI, -8.0 to 4.3). The incidence of prespecified adverse events did not differ significantly between groups.

Conclusions: Among patients with coma who had been resuscitated from cardiac arrest with nonshockable rhythm, moderate therapeutic hypothermia at 33°C for 24 hours led to a higher percentage of patients who survived with a favorable neurologic outcome at day 90 than was observed with targeted normothermia. (Funded by the French Ministry of Health and others; HYPERION number, NCT01994772.).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Temperature
  • Brain Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Coma / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Arrest / complications
  • Heart Arrest / mortality
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy
  • Single-Blind Method

Associated data