Making a Case for Therapeutic Hypothermia

Photo © Rick Davis 2011.

One of the articles published in AJN’s July issue that’s proving popular is “Therapeutic Hypothermia After Cardiac Arrest,” by Jessica L. Erb, an acute care NP at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital, and colleagues Marilyn Hravnak and Jon C. Rittenberger. The article points out that, despite evidence supporting its effectiveness, therapeutic hypothermia is not widely used.

According to the article’s overview, “Irreversible brain damage and death are common outcomes after cardiac arrest, even when resuscitation is initially successful. Chances for both survival and a good neurologic outcome are improved when mild hypothermia is induced shortly after reperfusion. Unfortunately, this treatment is often omitted from advanced cardiac life support protocols.”

The article discusses the efficacy of therapeutic hypothermia, indications and contraindications for its use, various induction methods, associated complications and adverse effects, and nursing care specific to patients undergoing this procedure.

Read the article (it’s open access)—you can earn 2.3 hours of CE credit.—Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

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2016-11-21T13:09:39+00:00 July 23rd, 2012|Nursing|2 Comments
Managing editor, American Journal of Nursing


  1. Deb October 5, 2016 at 1:08 am

    What about therapeutic hypothermia for newborns suffering from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy? Does the temperature range vary from adults and newborns? We try to cool to between 34-35 degrees Celsius. How long does cooling last for an adult?

  2. Amy Itschner August 28, 2012 at 1:49 am

    I work in a PICU where we induce hypothermia to 36 degree Celsius, meeting listed criteria. Is the research differnt in Pediatrics? We also maintain that temperature for our ECMO and post bypass pt’s. Are we doing the right thing?

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