Lower Temps Save Lives?

Study to look at whether lowering body temperature in children after cardiac arrest prevents brain damage

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Researchers are investigating whether lowering body temperature (hypothermia) can prevent or reduce brain damage in children deprived of oxygen after cardiac arrest.

Thousands of children suffer oxygen deprivation as a result of cardiac arrest caused by illness or accidents such as near-drownings. The body’s blood supply is interrupted, causing cells to be deprived of oxygen, during cardiac arrest. This process can result in death or brain damage in children.

The Therapeutic Hypothermia After Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Trials (THAPCA) will look at children who have experienced cardiac arrest, who will be randomly assigned to two groups: those whose body temperatures will be lowered (to 32-34 degrees C) by surface cooling and those whose body temperatures are actively kept in the normal range (36.0-37.5 degrees C), also by surface cooling.

Currently there are no therapies shown to improve children's chances of recovering from cardiac arrest, according to principal investigator Frank W. Moler, M.D., M.S., medical director of the Mott pediatric intensive care unit and professor of pediatrics at the U-M Medical School.

The Therapeutic Hypothermia After Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Trials are scheduled to begin this fall with researchers at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the University of Utah leading the helm. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, will provide funding for the Vanguard phase. Up to 900 participants in the United States and Canada will take part provided successful completion of the initial trial.

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Review Date: 
January 24, 2011
Last Updated:
January 24, 2011