Forced body cooling for patients who have survived an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest can help them keep their brain function and return to work, initial data from a new study has shown.
Previous studies had already shown that the patients have better survival rates if the are cooled, known as therapeutic hypothermia.
The new data was presented to the American Academy of Neurology by Dr Samuel Moore from the Mayo Clinic in America.
Researchers said that the use of hypothermia had improved survival from about one in six patients to around one in two and it had now become the standard of care for these patients.
But hypothermia was a major endeavour and very costly. So doctors wanted to make sure they were saving people with a good quality of life and that seemed to be the case.
They said some patients had cognitive impairment, but that was always the case after resuscitated cardiac arrest. That percentage did not appear to be higher after hypothermia.
For the current study, 133 consecutive survivors of cardiac arrest who underwent therapeutic hypothermia from June 2006 to May 2011 were identified. Six in ten were alive at a mean follow-up of 21 months. Three quarters of them were interviewed by phone. They had a median age of 67 and nine in ten were living independently.
Sixty per cent were considered cognitively normal and the rest were mildly cognitively impaired.
Of the 38 patients who were working until the time of the cardiac arrest, 30 returned to work.
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