Chilling the brains of people in cardiac arrest as they are rushed to the hospital improves the chances they will survive — and without brain damage, researchers report.
In cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, cutting off the blood supply to the body and brain. Even if a patient can be resuscitated, brain damage often results.
But several years ago, researchers found that lowering the body temperature of a newly revived cardiac arrest patient in the hospital can make a big difference.
The new approach, already in use in Europe, extends the technique to people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital.
“Cooling the brain fast and really early is critical to success,” says Maaret Castrén, MD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.