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Targeted temperature management in critical care: A report and recommendations from five professional societies*

Nunnally, Mark E. MD; Jaeschke, Roman MD; Bellingan, Geoffrey J. MD; Lacroix, Jacques MD; Mourvillier, Bruno MD; Rodriguez-Vega, Gloria M. MD, FCCM; Rubertsson, Sten MD, PhD, FCCM; Vassilakopoulos, Theodoros MD; Weinert, Craig MD; Zanotti-Cavazzoni, Sergio MD; Buchman, Timothy G. MD, PhD, FCCM

doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e318206bab2
Special Article

Objective: Representatives of five international critical care societies convened topic specialists and a nonexpert jury to review, assess, and report on studies of targeted temperature management and to provide clinical recommendations.

Data Sources: Questions were allocated to experts who reviewed their areas, made formal presentations, and responded to questions. Jurors also performed independent searches. Sources used for consensus derived exclusively from peer-reviewed reports of human and animal studies.

Study Selection: Question-specific studies were selected from literature searches; jurors independently determined the relevance of each study included in the synthesis.

Conclusions and Recommendations: 1) The jury opines that the term “targeted temperature management” replace “therapeutic hypothermia.”

2) The jury opines that descriptors (e.g., “mild”) be replaced with explicit targeted temperature management profiles.

3) The jury opines that each report of a targeted temperature management trial enumerate the physiologic effects anticipated by the investigators and actually observed and/or measured in subjects in each arm of the trial as a strategy for increasing knowledge of the dose/duration/response characteristics of temperature management. This enumeration should be kept separate from the body of the report, be organized by body systems, and be made without assertions about the impact of any specific effect on the clinical outcome.

4) The jury STRONGLY RECOMMENDS targeted temperature management to a target of 32°C–34°C as the preferred treatment (vs. unstructured temperature management) of out-of-hospital adult cardiac arrest victims with a first registered electrocardiography rhythm of ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia and still unconscious after restoration of spontaneous circulation (strong recommendation, moderate quality of evidence).

5) The jury WEAKLY RECOMMENDS the use of targeted temperature management to 33°C–35.5°C (vs. less structured management) in the treatment of term newborns who sustained asphyxia and exhibit acidosis and/or encephalopathy (weak recommendation, moderate quality of evidence).


From the University of Chicago (MEN), Chicago, IL; McMaster University (RJ), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; University College London Hospitals (GJB), London, England; University of Montreal (JL), Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Bichat Claude Bernard Hospital (BM), Paris, France; University District Hospital (GMRV), San Juan, Puerto Rico; Department of Surgical Sciences/Anesthesiology & Intensive Care (SR), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Evangelismos Hospital (TV), Athens, Greece; University of Minnesota (CW), Minneapolis, MN; Cooper University Hospital (SZC), Camden, NJ; and Emory Center for Critical Care (TGB), Atlanta, GA.

Sponsoring Organizations: American Thoracic Society (ATS) (, European Respiratory Society (ERS) (, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) (, Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) (, Société de Réanimation de Langue Française (SRLF) (

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The authors have not disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.

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© 2011 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins