HealthDay News — Therapeutic hypothermia should be utilized to minimize the risk of brain damage for cardiac arrest patients in a coma, according to a new guideline published in Neurology.

The new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology was based on a review of studies conducted over the last 50 years. The guideline recommends that families of cardiac arrest patients ask if their loved one qualifies for body cooling.

The authors found strong evidence that cooling the body to 89.6 degrees to 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours (therapeutic hypothermia) improves the chance of recovering brain function. Moderate evidence supported targeted temperature management — keeping the body at 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours followed by re-warming to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit over 8 hours.

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“While there has been debate about which cooling protocol is best, our guideline found that both therapies have shown the same result,” guideline committee chair Romergryko Geocadin, MD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. “Families may want to ask their doctor if their loved one qualifies for body cooling.”

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Geocadin RG, Wijdicks E, Armstrong MJ, et al. Practice guideline summary: reducing brain injury following cardiopulmonary resuscitation: report of the guideline development, dissemination, and implementation subcommittee of the american academy of neurology [published online May 10, 2017]. Neurology. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003966