Monday, September 27, 2010

The Big Chill

Cooling the body temperature of patients in cardiac arrest is becoming an increasingly popular method of reducing the damaged caused by a lack of oxygen. In the ER, I witnessed the adoption of a "code chill" protocol that involved an ICU team with a cooling unit for arresting patients.

According to this article, surgeons at Massachusetts General are preparing to employ a similar concept to trauma victims. By pumping cold saline through a patient's blood vessels, the team can lower body temperature to 10˚C, or a frigid 50˚F.

Claims the leader of the project, "By cooling rapidly in this fashion we can convert almost certain death into a 90 percent survival rate."

Pretty cool.

1 comment:

FrankC said...

The Telegraph references a BBC Horizon programme. I've watched it and, unless my memory has failed, they don't replace blood by cold saline. Instead they use a heart bypass machine and cool the blood running through that as well as using bags of ice water in the abdomen.
Still freaky though.