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Rapid cooling helps heart attacks

17th November 2009

People can benefit from a rapid cooling device if they want to boost their chances of heart attack survival, according to new Swedish research.

heart surgery

The device pumps cooling liquid directly into the nasal passages of sufferers.

The new device, called the RhinoChill, allows doctors to cool the brains of patients while they are undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

For the purposes of the study, researchers recruited some 182 people, 83 of whom received the RhinoChill nasal cooling treatment, while 99 were prescribed a standard treatment regime.

The first group of patients using RhinoChill waited about 23 minutes before they received treatment.

The average body temperature after cooling was about 340C.

They found that 46.7% of the patients who received the cooling treatment survived their time in the hospital, while only 31% of those who did not were able to survive it.

A further 36.7% of people in the group receiving the cooling, and 21.4% in the group receiving standard treatment, survived with little or no damage to their brains.

Another group of patients received treatment within 10 minutes of having a cardiac arrest, and the percentages differed significantly for this group.

Some 59% of those who were cooled at an earlier stage of cardiac arrest survived the episode, while roughly 29% of those on standard treatments did.

Furthermore, 46% of the patients who received the cooling treatment survived without neurological impairment.

By comparison, 17% of those who had the standard treatment were not neurologically impaired by their heart attacks.

However, the bodies of some patients did not seem to react well to the nasal cooling, and upwards of fifteen people had either nosebleeds or nasal discolourations.

Though some of the patients had serious adverse effects to both heart attack treatments, including seizure and relapse, these figures were much lower for those receiving RhinoChill, with seven such patients compared to 14 who underwent standard treatment.

Dr Maaret Castren, professor of emergency medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said that her team now had a method that was safe and could be started within minutes of cardiac arrest to minimise brain damage.

She said that her team's results showed that the earlier people did the cooling, the better the results were, and that delayed resuscitation efforts meant no significant difference in survival.


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Article Information

Title: Rapid cooling helps heart attacks
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 13297
Date Added: 17th Nov 2009

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