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In This Section Texas Health HEB
Heart and Vascular

Hypothermia Protocol

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford offers an innovative treatment using hypothermia to care for patients after cardiac arrest.

Induced Hypothermic Protocol

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According to the American Heart Association, only one-third of patients who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will recover with normal neurological function. Because the heart stops pumping blood during cardiac arrest, patients may experience irreversible damage when the brain has been deprived of circulating blood and oxygen for more than four minutes. Death may occur after seven minutes.

Therapeutic hypothermia is used to cool the body in order to slow the brain's demand for oxygen. According to the American Heart Association, studies show that after therapeutic hypothermia, about half of patients who experience cardiac arrest will have normal neurological function, compared to only one-third of those who don't receive the treatment.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford implemented a therapeutic hypothermia protocol in response to the American Heart Association's 2005 recommendation that therapeutic hypothermia be used to treat patients after cardiac arrest.

Texas Health HEB adapted a protocol developed in the Netherlands that allows more rapid initiation of therapy than other procedures for hypothermia therapy. Physicians on the medical staff and hospital employees modified the protocol to meet the needs of the patient population at Texas Health HEB based on review of current medical literature, consultation with hospitals around the country, and the input of cardiologists, pharmacists, critical care providers and other health care professionals at Texas Health HEB. 

Texas Health HEB uses cooling blankets and infuses the patient with iced saline through an IV until his or her temperature is about 91 degrees Fahrenheit. After maintaining a state of hypothermia for 24 hours, the patient is rewarmed over the next 24 hours. Texas Health HEB chose intravenous-induced therapeutic hypothermia because it can be started immediately.

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