Q I have been hearing about inducing hypothermia in patients who have had a cardiac arrest. What is this procedure and when is it used ?

A Rhonda Anderson, RN, MSN, CCRN, replies:

Mild hypothermia is considered a class IIa recommendation by the American Heart Association for unconscious, adult patients with return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) after out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation (VF) cardiac arrest. Other patients experiencing out-of-hospital non-VF arrest or an in-hospital arrest may find similar benefits with this type of postresuscitative support as well (class IIb).1 

For patients to be considered for induced hypothermia, time of collapse to ROSC should be less than 1 hour, with the time to the initiation of hypothermia within the first 6 hours after ROSC. In addition, these patients should be at least 18 years of age; be able to maintain a...

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