An Australian randomised controlled trial assessed the effect of pre-hospital cooling (using 2 litres ice cold Hartmann’s) of post-cardiac arrest patients on functional status at hospital discharge. The intervention group were marginally cooler on arrival but did not have improved outcomes.
The authors conclude: In adults who have been resuscitated from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with an initial cardiac rhythm of ventricular fibrillation, paramedic cooling with a rapid infusion of large-volume, ice-cold intravenous fluid decreased core temperature at hospital arrival but was not shown to improve outcome at hospital discharge compared with cooling commenced in the hospital.
Induction of Therapeutic Hypothermia by Paramedics After Resuscitation From Out-of-Hospital Ventricular Fibrillation Cardiac Arrest
Circulation. 2010 Aug 17;122(7):737-42 Free Full Text
One issue from this study was that relatively short urban pre-hospital transport times meant some patients did not get the full two litres, and some had already received room temperature fluids during the cardiac arrest resuscitation. The authors suggest further study should involved initiating cooling during the arrest. In fact a European study has done just that, using a device call a RhinoChill (a portable transnasal cooling device) to lower temperature during arrest in a randomised controlled trial. This trial showed pre-hospital intra-arrest transnasal cooling is safe and feasible and is associated with a significant improvement in the time intervals required to cool patients.
Intra-arrest transnasal evaporative cooling: a randomized, prehospital, multicenter study (PRINCE: Pre-ROSC IntraNasal Cooling Effectiveness)
Circulation. 2010 Aug 17;122(7):729-36