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Cooling May Benefit Children After Cardiac Arrest

Multicenter Study Evaluates Effectiveness of Therapeutic Hypothermia in Extending Survival and Reducing Brain Injury

Available in New York Exclusively at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

NEW YORK (Dec 3, 2009)

When the heart is stopped and restarted, the patient's life may be saved but their brain is often permanently damaged. Therapeutic hypothermia, a treatment in which the patient's body temperature is lowered and maintained several degrees below normal for a period of time, has been shown to mitigate these harmful effects and improve survival in adults.

Now, in the first large-scale multicenter study of its kind, physician-scientists are evaluating the effectiveness of the technique in infants and children. Offered exclusively in New York by Columbia University Medical Center researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, the Therapeutic Hypothermia After Pediatric Cardiac Arrest (THAPCA) trial is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"A tragedy no matter how it happens, cardiac arrest can occur in children either as a complication from a serious medical condition or due to an accident or sudden illness. While arrest in children is rare, currently no therapies have been shown to improve their chances of recovering," says Dr. Charles Schleien, a pediatrician and anesthesiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and executive vice chairman of pediatrics and professor of pediatrics and anesthesiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "In this new study, we aim to show that therapeutic hypothermia can give these children a better chance at survival and long-term quality of life."

Study participants will be randomly selected to either have their body cooled through therapeutic hypothermia or maintained at normal body temperature. In both groups, body heat will be adjusted using special temperature-control blankets. Those receiving hypothermia will have their body temperature reduced to between 89.6º and 93.2º Fahrenheit (F) for two days, then slowly increased to a normal body temperature and maintained for another three days.

Co-led by Dr. Frank W. Moler at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Dr. Michael Dean at the University of Utah, the six-year study involves a total of 16 study sites in North America.

Cardiac Arrest and Therapeutic Hypothermia

During cardiac arrest, the body's blood supply is interrupted and cells are deprived of oxygen. This stresses the body, causing the release of toxic compounds that can overwhelm the organs and result in long-term brain injury. Therapeutic hypothermia slows the body's production of these compounds, reducing risk for brain injury. The therapy has been used successfully in adult cardiac arrest patients, and has been shown beneficial for newborns who have received insufficient oxygen at birth.

A Leader in Cooling for Cardiac Arrest Patients

Beginning this year, New York City ambulances are taking cardiac arrest patients directly to hospitals that offer therapeutic hypothermia. Dr. Stephan Mayer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center played a key role in establishing this policy by bringing the idea to a critical-care committee of the Greater New York Hospital Association and United Hospital Fund.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, located in New York City, offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics — including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties — in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation's premier children's hospitals, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is Manhattan's only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and one of the largest providers of children's health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. It is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report.

Contact

Belinda Mager
Phone: (212) 305-5587.
bem9048@nyp.org
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