Therapeutic Hypothermia
Therapeutic Hypothermia

Therapeutic Hypothermia in Newburgh

Preserve Brain Function during Cardiac Arrest

The Cardiac Institute at Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall performs post-cardiac-arrest cardiac hypothermia, a cutting-edge cooling procedure that preserves brain function in cardiac-arrest patients. Therapeutic hypothermia is recognized by the American Heart Association as the gold standard in cardiac-arrest care and reduces the possibility of permanent brain damage and tissue injury following a period of insufficient blood flow. This treatment could save a patient from falling into a long-term coma resulting from cardiac arrest.

Difference between Heart Attack & Cardiac Arrest

Currently, therapeutic hypothermia is only used as a treatment for patients undergoing cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack:

  • A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is cut off, putting the heart in jeopardy.
  • Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating and cuts off blood to the whole body, including the brain.

Cardiac arrest typically causes the patient to fall unconscious and these are the people who may benefit from therapeutic hypothermia. In order for the treatment to be effective, the patient’s heart must have resumed beating after the cardiac arrest, even if they have not yet regained consciousness.

How does it Work?

Therapeutic hypothermia works by lowering the body temperature. This lowers the brain’s cerebral metabolism, meaning it needs less oxygen to function. Since blood flow is cut off from the brain during cardiac arrest, thus reducing its oxygen supply, limiting the brain’s need for oxygen increases the patient’s chance for recovery.

Since the treatment is only for patients who are unconscious, patients do not remember undergoing therapeutic hypothermia. During the treatment, sedatives will be applied to help the patient’s body relax. The body temperature is then lowered using ice backs and/or cooling IV fluid. The treatment usually lasts for 24 hours. Afterward, the patient is monitored in the ICU as we monitor brain functions and assess their overall wellbeing.