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Induced Hypothermia in Neurocritical Care

A Review

Cook, Courtney J.

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 5–11
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000215
Clinical Nursing Focus

ABSTRACT Induced hypothermia (IH) continues to become a more prevalent treatment modality in neurocritical care. Reducing core temperature has been shown to protect brain tissue during injury and disease. IH has been particularly beneficial in the medical management of refractory intracranial hypertension and malignant cerebral edema. These pathologies are often the result of diffuse cerebral edema after traumatic brain injury, malignant ischemic stroke, or intracerebral hemorrhage. Although there are many benefits to IH, it is not without complications. Chief among these is shivering, which decreases oxygen delivery to brain tissue, increases metabolic demands, and consequently reduces nutrient delivery. This article will review indications for IH administration, methods of providing IH, nursing responsibilities, and identifying and/or managing complications.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Courtney J. Cook, ACNP DNP, at She is an Assistant Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt School of Nursing, Nashville, TN.

No funding or financial resources are associated with the content of this article. There is no financial relationship with the Arctic Sun Corporation.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2017 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses