During a heart attack or stroke, it’s critically important to protect the brain and other vital organs from a loss of oxygen and blood. At Parkland Medical Center, emergency medical personnel and cardiologists are able to use an advanced life-saving protocol—induced therapeutic hypothermia—to help ensure that patients not only survive but thrive after their hearts are restarted.

Cooling Treatment for Cardiac Arrest

Induced therapeutic hypothermia means that a patient’s body temperature is lowered to between 90 and 93 degrees using cooling wraps, chilled intravenous fluids and ice packs. This treatment reduces the body’s oxygen requirements, decreases swelling and limits the release of toxins that cause cells to die. The goal is to protect vital organs following insufficient blood flow due to cardiac arrest, embolism or stroke.

Patients are sedated during the cooling process to prevent them from feeling the effects of hypothermia. They are closely monitored during the 24-hour cooling phase so any side effects can be quickly detected and treated. After body function has returned to normal, patients are gradually re-warmed and restored to consciousness. Studies have shown that therapeutic hypothermia can improve survival rates as well as neurological function for individuals who have experienced cardiac emergencies.

Comprehensive Heart Care

Induced therapeutic hypothermia is part of the wide range of cardiology capabilities available at Parkland. Through our affiliation with the New England Heart Institute, expert clinicians are available to address complex problems such as acute heart attack, chronic heart failure and arrhythmia.

Learn the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke and find out more about heart and vascular services at Parkland Medical Center.