However, application of therapeutic hypothermia has been credited to the great enhancement of survival rates from such sudden cardiac arrests with a huge influence on the long-term neurologically intact survival too. Further research and animal tests also point, importantly, that the earlier the hypothermia is induced, the better and higher the patient’s outcome and survival rates (Bader, 2011).
Therapeutic hypothermia, also termed protective hypothermia, is a medical procedure involving reduction of a patient’s body temperature so as to help lower the chances of ischemic injury to tissues after a term of insufficient blood flow and can significantly improve the rates of long-term neurologically intact survival. This insufficient blood flow can be a result of several factors such as in the circumstance of a stroke, occlusion of an artery by an embolism, or cardiac arrest. However, in the case of cardiac arrests, the essence of use maybe debated since temperatures of 36˚C (97˚F) basically have similar effects as at the hypothermal 33˚C (91˚F) (Alzaga, Cerdan & Varon, 2006).
Therapeutic hypothermia can be incited either through invasive methods or non-invasive methods. Induction by the non-invasive methods involve surface cooling with ice packs, surface cooling helmets, cool caps, application of a cold water blanket or/ and clothing directly to the patient’s skin surface. Invasive means on the other hand employ the use of a catheter placed in the inferior vena cava through the femoral vein, internal cooling methods through the infusion of cold fluids or trans-nasal evaporative cooling (Brooks, 2010).
There exist five major medical conditions that therapeutic hypothermia treats effectively. These include cardiac arrest, neonatal encephalopathy, ischemic stroke, neurogenic fever (after brain trauma) and a spinal cord injury without damage.