Therapeutic hypothermia minimizes neuronal injury in animal models of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy with greater effect when used sooner after the insult. Clinical trials generally showed limited benefit but are difficult to perform in a timely manner. In this clinical study, we evaluated the association between the use of hypothermia (or not) and health-related quality of life among survivors of pediatric cardiac arrest as well as overall mortality.
Single-center, retrospectively identified cohort with prospective assessment of health-related quality of life.
PICU of a pediatric hospital.
Children with either out-of-hospital or in-hospital cardiac arrest from January 2012 to December 2017.
Patients were assigned into two groups: those who received therapeutic hypothermia at less than or equal to 35°C and those who did not receive therapeutic hypothermia but who had normothermia targeted (36–36.5°C). The primary outcome was health-related quality of life assessment and the secondary outcome was PICU mortality.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:
We studied 239 children, 112 (47%) in the therapeutic hypothermia group. The median (interquartile range) of lowest temperature reached in the 48 hours post cardiac arrest in the therapeutic hypothermia group was 33°C (32.6–33.6°C) compared with 35.4°C (34.7–36.2°C) in the no therapeutic hypothermia group (p < 0.001). At follow-up, 152 (64%) were alive and health-related quality of life assessments were completed in 128. Use of therapeutic hypothermia was associated with higher lactate and lower pH at baseline. After regression adjustment, therapeutic hypothermia (as opposed to no therapeutic hypothermia) was associated with higher physical (mean difference, 15.8; 95% CI, 3.5–27.9) and psychosocial scores (13.6 [5.8–21.5]). These observations remained even when patients with a temperature greater than 37.5°C were excluded. We failed to find an association between therapeutic hypothermia and lower mortality.
Out-of-hospital or in-hospital cardiac arrest treated with therapeutic hypothermia was associated with higher health-related quality of life scores despite having association with higher lactate and lower pH after resuscitation. We failed to identify an association between use of therapeutic hypothermia and lower mortality.