HealthDay News – While therapeutic hypothermia may help improve some outcomes, it doesn’t appear to provide benefit when cardiac arrest happens in a hospital setting, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Paul Chan, MD, a professor of medicine at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and colleagues used a US registry to collect data on 26,183 patients at 355 hospitals. The patients were resuscitated from in-hospital cardiac arrest between March 2002 and December 2014. Overall, 6% of the patients were treated with therapeutic hypothermia. The researchers compared those patients with patients not treated with hypothermia.

Hypothermia was associated with slightly lower in-hospital survival (27.4% vs 29.2%). In addition, hypothermia was associated with slightly lower rates of preserving mental ability (17% vs 20%). After a year, no survival advantage was seen with therapeutic hypothermia, the researchers reported.

“We were surprised that cooling was harmful,” Dr Chan told HealthDay. However, he added, “patients in the hospital are a lot sicker, which may be a reason cooling doesn’t work.”


Chan PS, Berg RA, Tang Y, Curtis LH, Spertus JA; for the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines–Resuscitation Investigators. Association between therapeutic hypothermia and survival after in-hospital cardiac arrest. JAMA. 2016;316(13):1375-1382. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14380.