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Cool New Heart Attack Treatment
February, 2010, Page 146
Cool New Heart Attack Treatment Increase Chances for Full Recovery
A novel life-saving technique in use at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix is helping to prevent brain damage and improve survival for cardiac arrest patients.
The treatment -- called therapeutic hypothermia -- is being adopted by physicians across Arizona and the nation to improve the chance of a good neurologic recovery after cardiac arrest, says Ben Bobrow, MD, an Emergency Physician and medical director of the Resuscitation Science Center at Maricopa Medical Center.
“Since implementation of our multi-disciplinary, guideline based post-arrest care program -- including emergent angioplasty, therapeutic hypothermia, and high level critical care -- we have seen a significant increase in the number of cardiac arrest survivors leaving the hospital and going home with their families without neurologic deficits,” Dr. Bobrow said.
Cooling is a treatment for the patient whose heart stops due to sudden cardiac arrest . During the procedure, the patient’s body is cooled to 33 degrees Celsius for 24 hours using a specially designed catheter.
Maricopa Medical Center, Arizona’s only public hospital, is one of 27 hospitals across the state that have been recognized as a “Cardiac Receiving Center” by the Arizona Department of Health Services, signifying they are capable of delivering the highest level of care – including therapeutic hypothermia – to cardiac arrest patients who survive initial resuscitation.
The American Heart Association included therapeutic hypothermia in the 2005 guidelines for treating cardiac arrest patients outside of a hospital. That followed the publication of two landmark studies, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, that showed the benefits of cooling in cardiac arrest.
Dr. Bobrow said the establishment of Cardiac Centers has doubled cardiac arrest survival in the state and is one of three major steps taken by the state’s SHARE (Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education) program to change out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival statistics for the better. These combined interventions have resulted in a more than tripling of survival from cardiac arrest in Arizona. (see www.azshare.gov for more information)
While Arizona is the only state with a system of hospitals which are recognized as Cardiac Receiving Centers based on their ability to perform guideline care, Bobrow envisions a time in the near future when Cardiac Centers exist throughout the country.
“We’re at a very exciting tipping point where we know that a standardized approach to patient care after cardiac arrest results in significantly improve survival,” he says.
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