Lexington Medical Center “Freezes” Heart Attack Patient
Lexington Medical Center is having success with a revolutionary new technology for heart attack patients called Therapeutic Hypothermia. The innovative procedure lowers body temperatures to help people who have suffered cardiac arrest make a full recovery.
Therapeutic Hypothermia is for patients who have suffered cardiac arrest and been resuscitated. Doctors inject the patient with cold saline and apply pads to the body to cool the patient to approximately 91 degrees. A normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. The patient stays at the low temperature for 18 to 24 hours. Then, doctors warm the patient gradually. The idea is that lowering body temperature will help limit neurological damage and cell death that can occur after cardiac arrest.
Lexington Medical Center emergency physician Dr. Robert Mearns has researched the procedure. “You see a lot of remarkable outcomes,” he said.
So far, Therapeutic Hypothermia has been a success at Lexington Medical Center with a 66-year-old Lexington County woman who suffered a heart attack at her home in December. Lexington Medical Center began the procedure on her in the hospital’s emergency room.
For centuries, people have advocated cooling the body to improve recovery in certain situations. The Greek physician Hippocrates, the namesake of the Hippocratic Oath, advocated the packing of wounded soldiers in snow and ice. Napoleon’s surgeon noted that wounded soldiers recovering in the cold had higher survival rates than those kept warm near a fire. And medical experts have found that children who fall through ice can survive extended durations in cold water. Now, that knowledge has weaved its way into modern medicine.
Research suggests Therapeutic Hypothermia may help some victims of stroke, brain injury and trauma, too.
Lexington Medical Center performs the procedure with equipment called “Arctic Sun” manufactured by Medivance.
ABC World News Tonight did a story about therapeutic hypothermia recently. Search under “Putting Cardiac Arrest on Ice.”
And a recent New York Times story reported ambulances are bypassing New York City hospitals that do not offer therapeutic hypothermia.