Therapeautic Hypothermia Not As Effective in Kids

Induced hypothermia may not help children after cardiac arrest

(RxWiki News) When it comes to adults, inducing hypothermia following cardiac arrest can be an effective method for minimizing harm to the brain. It doesn't seem to be as effective in children.

Rapid intravenous delivery of cold fluids to drop the body temperature does not appear to improve neurological outcomes in children. The method has been shown to be sucessful in minimizing harm to the brain in adults.

"Ask about special alternatives for children."

W. Dalton Dietrich, a professor of neurological surgery, neurology, cell biology and anatomy at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, said the finding is important because it reinforces the point that children are not just small people, but patients that require specialized treatment.

Researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia studied the effect in a preclinical trial by using three simulated models of pediatric patients of different sizes. This allowed investigators to evaluate the rate at which the fluid was given since it is dependent upon a patient's weight.

It is suspected that the delay in cooling negated any positive effects from the treatment since children would receive less fluid and at a slower rate. However, the window of benefit has not yet been determined.

Investigators said the findings suggested pediatric patients may require a larger volume of cooling liquids or a more rapid infusion of fluids. Another step that could potentially help would be insulating the tubing or fluid bags, or simultaneously using external cooling to achieve the goal temperature of 34 degrees.

The research was published in journal Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management.

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Review Date: 
August 1, 2011