Hypothermia Saves Brain and Heart Function in Sparks man|
RENO, Nev. (Feb. 11, 2009) – Hypothermia is good for you – in certain life-threatening situations. Recent studies show that a new type of hypothermia treatment for patients who are resuscitated after their heart stops beating (cardiac arrest) can have a profound influence not only on survival but also on a doctor’s ability to save brain and heart function.
Cooling to the core is arguably what saved the life and mind of a 66-year-old man who suffered a cardiac arrest while walking his dogs with his wife two blocks from his home in Spanish Springs. For Joseph Serafini Sr., who was transported by helicopter to Renown Regional Medical Center, there was no question.
“If Renown didn’t have such advanced emergency treatments for cardiac arrest patients like me, I may not even be here,” he said. He later chucked, “My children may not have always thought I was cool, but I am living proof that I am.”
Inducing moderate cooling of the body within six hours of cardiac arrest, for 24 hours, followed by gradual warming, slows brain metabolism and seems to reduce loss of brain function, studies have shown.
The American Heart Association endorsed cooling for some types of cardiac arrest patients after two studies on its effectiveness were published in “The New England Journal of Medicine” in 2002. One study found that 55 percent of the patients who received the cooling treatment ended up with moderate or no brain damage, compared with 39 percent who received standard treatment. About 41 percent of the cooled patients died within six months, compared with 55 percent of the others.
Most patients who suffer total cardiac arrest outside hospitals die because their brains have been starved of oxygen,” said Karen Lanham-Evans, RN, BSN, manager of cardiac intensive care at Renown Regional Medical Center. “But studies show that if the pulse of patients can be restarted and the body temperature cooled below normal, about 89 degrees Fahrenheit, brain damage can be reduced or minimized.”
She continued, “When someone falls into icy water, they go into a state of suspended animation in which they have no detectable signs of life, yet, on re-warming, they can be brought back to full capacity. When a person has a cardiac arrest or a sudden loss of blood for any reason, we need to get to them into a state of suspended animation as quickly as possible, fix what’s wrong and then re-warm them.”
Only those cardiac arrest patients revived enough to show a pulse and whose heart problems are not associated with some other trauma are eligible for the cooling treatment.
Renown Regional’s cooling treatment is done by using hypothermia wraps, a noninvasive form of cooling, that circulates a thin layer of cold water next to the skin and quickly chills the body through convection.
About Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
When it comes to choosing the right hospital for heart and vascular health, experience counts. More cardiovascular procedures are performed at Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health than anywhere else in northern Nevada. It’s no wonder that the Institute has more than 30 years of recognition as the region’s leader of heart and vascular care.
Renown is committed to providing a level of skill, expertise and technology normally found in much larger communities so that patients do not have to leave the community to receive the high level of care they expect and deserve.
The organization is also committed to bringing in high caliber physicians and the necessary tools and equipment to meet the needs of the region’s growing population. Renown’s cardiac physicians have access to sophisticated diagnostic and surgical equipment such as the da Vinci® S HD™ Robotic Surgical System, 64-slice CT scanner, nuclear medicine, MRI and cardiac catheterization so patients can be diagnosed and treated quickly.
A History of Treatment Innovations
As the region’s pioneer in cardiac care, Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health is home to many of the community’s cardiovascular milestones including the first open-heart surgery, first cardiac angioplasty and first heart catheterization.
In 2008, Renown Regional became the first hospital between Seattle, Wash. and Long Beach, Cal. to perform a da Vinci® Mitral Valve Repair; was the first hospital in the state to use the Talent Abdominal Stent Graft; introduced the first true 64-slice CT scanner that successfully detected coronary artery disease in two separate pediatric patients and was among the first in the nation and first in the state to implant the new implantable cardioverter defibrillator called TELIGEN. The health network was also the first to partner with BioMedix and introduce PADNet Screenings designed to detect peripheral artery disease.
In terms of recognition, Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health is the only hospital in the region to maintain a Cardiovascular Services Accreditation for the echocardiography lab, which was one of the first in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to receive the prestigious accreditation. It has also been accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories and is designated as a Center for Excellence in Cardiac Surgery by California Blue Cross/Blue Shield.