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Therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury

, : Therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports 12(5): 580-591

Experimental evidence demonstrates that therapeutic temperature modulation with the use of mild induced hypothermia (MIH, defined as the maintenance of body temperature at 32-35 °C) exerts significant neuroprotection and attenuates secondary cerebral insults after traumatic brain injury (TBI). In adult TBI patients, MIH has been used during the acute "early" phase as prophylactic neuroprotectant and in the sub-acute "late" phase to control brain edema. When used to control brain edema, MIH is effective in reducing elevated intracranial pressure (ICP), and is a valid therapy of refractory intracranial hypertension in TBI patients. Based on the available evidence, we recommend: applying standardized algorithms for the management of induced cooling; paying attention to limit potential side effects (shivering, infections, electrolyte disorders, arrhythmias, reduced cardiac output); and using controlled, slow (0.1-0.2 °C/h) rewarming, to avoid rebound ICP. The optimal temperature target should be titrated to maintain ICP <20 mmHg and to avoid temperatures <35 °C. The duration of cooling should be individualized until the resolution of brain edema, and may be longer than 48 h. Patients with refractory elevated ICP following focal TBI (e.g. hemorrhagic contusions) may respond better to MIH than those with diffuse injury. Randomized controlled trials are underway to evaluate the impact of MIH on neurological outcome in adult TBI patients with elevated ICP. The use of MIH as prophylactic neuroprotectant in the early phase of adult TBI is not supported by clinical evidence and is not recommended.


PMID: 22836524

DOI: 10.1007/s11910-012-0304-5

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