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Critical Care Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000220494.90290.92
Clinical Investigations

Therapeutic hypothermia utilization among physicians after resuscitation from cardiac arrest*

Merchant, Raina M. MD; Soar, Jasmeet MD; Skrifvars, Markus B. MD, PhD; Silfvast, Tom MD, PhD; Edelson, Dana P. MD; Ahmad, Fawaz BA; Huang, Kuang-Ning; Khan, Monica; Vanden Hoek, Terry L. MD; Becker, Lance B. MD; Abella, Benjamin S. MD, MPhil

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Abstract

Objective: We sought to evaluate current physician use of therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest, to ascertain reasons for nonadoption of this treatment, and to determine current cooling techniques employed.

Design: Web-based survey.

Setting: International physician cohort in the United States, UK, and Finland.

Subjects: Physicians (MD or DO) caring for resuscitated cardiac arrest patients.

Interventions: An anonymous Web-based survey was distributed to physicians identified through United States–based critical care, cardiology, and emergency medicine directories and critical care networks in the UK and Finland. Recipients were queried regarding use of postresuscitation therapeutic hypothermia.

Measurements and Main Results: Of the final 13,272 surveys actually distributed to physicians, 2,248 (17%) were completed. Most respondents were attending physicians (82%) at teaching hospitals (76%) who practiced critical care (35%), cardiology (20%), or emergency medicine (22%). Of all replies, 74% of United States respondents and 64% of non–United States respondents had never used therapeutic hypothermia. United States emergency medicine physician adoption of cooling was significantly less than that of United States intensivists (16% vs. 34%, p < .05). The most often cited reasons for nonuse by respondents were “not enough data,” “not part of Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines,” and “too technically difficult to use.” Factors associated with increased use included non–United States residence, critical care specialty, and larger hospital size.

Conclusions: Physician utilization of cooling after cardiac arrest remains low. For improved adoption of therapeutic hypothermia, our data suggest that development of better cooling methodology and recent incorporation into resuscitation guidelines may improve use.

© 2006 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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