What is therapeutic hypothermia?

Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) is considered an important therapy for a comatose survivor of cardiac arrest—a patient whose heart stopped beating, was restarted during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and who remains minimally responsive immediately after the event. It is endorsed by the American Heart Association and is performed by lowering the body temperature to 32-34ºC (approximately 90 to 93ºF). Normal body temperature is 98.6º F or 37ºC. TH works by protecting the brain and other vital organs. It lowers oxygen requirements, decreases swelling, and limits the release of toxins, which can cause cells to die. TH has been shown to improve neurological outcomes and increase survival in patients who remain in a coma after successful CPR.