Temperature Management for Comatose Adult Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association

Circulation. 2023 Sep 19;148(12):982-988. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000001164. Epub 2023 Aug 16.


Targeted temperature management has been a cornerstone of post-cardiac arrest care for patients remaining unresponsive after return of spontaneous circulation since the initial trials in 2002 found that mild therapeutic hypothermia improves neurological outcome. The suggested temperature range expanded in 2015 in response to a large trial finding that outcomes were not better with treatment at 33° C compared with 36° C. In 2021, another large trial was published in which outcomes with temperature control at 33° C were not better than those of patients treated with a strategy of strict normothermia. On the basis of these new data, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation and other organizations have altered their treatment recommendations for temperature management after cardiac arrest. The new American Heart Association guidelines on this topic will be introduced in a 2023 focused update. To provide guidance to clinicians while this focused update is forthcoming, the American Heart Association's Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee convened a writing group to review the TTM2 trial (Hypothermia Versus Normothermia After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest) in the context of other recent evidence and to present an opinion on how this trial may influence clinical practice. This science advisory was informed by review of the TTM2 trial, consideration of other recent influential studies, and discussion between cardiac arrest experts in the fields of cardiology, critical care, emergency medicine, and neurology. Conclusions presented in this advisory statement do not replace current guidelines but are intended to provide an expert opinion on novel literature that will be incorporated into future guidelines and suggest the opportunity for reassessment of current clinical practice.

Keywords: AHA Scientific Statements; cardiology; expert testimony; hypothermia; out-of-hospital cardiac arrest; temperature.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • American Heart Association
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Coma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced*
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / therapy
  • Survivors
  • Temperature