Recent evidence supports the use of therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest. This article reviews recent published studies and describes the pathophysiology of hypothermia. Nurses need to understand the physiology of hypothermia to provide care for patients receiving therapeutic hypothermia. A suggested protocol is included to help manage the care of these patients.
Therapeutic hypothermia may be used in some patients following cardiac arrest. This article will review the use of therapeutic hypothermia, its pathophysiology, and a suggested protocol for its use in cardiac arrest patients.
Patricia Keresztes, PhD, RN, CCRN, is currently Assistant Professor of Nursing at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Ind, and staff nurse in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Memorial Hospital, South Bend, Ind. She has more than 20 years of critical care experience.
Katie Brick, MSN, RN, CCNS, is currently a Clinical Nurse Specialist and the Director of Colleague Education at Goshen Hospital in Goshen, Ind. Katie has more than 10 years of Critical Care experience.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Patricia A. Keresztes, PhD, RN, CCRN, 606 Chauncey Ct., Mishawaka, IN 46545 (e-mail: TKeresztes@comcast.net).