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The Practice of Therapeutic Hypothermia after Cardiac Arrest in France: A National Survey
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Author: Jean-Christophe Orban et al.

by Jean-Christophe Orban, Florian Cattet, Jean-Yves Lefrant, Marc Leone, Samir Jaber, Jean-Michel Constantin, Bernard Allaouchiche, Carole Ichai, for the AzuRĂ©a group

Aims

Cardiac arrest is a major health concern worldwide accounting for 375,000 cases per year in Europe with a survival rate of <10%. Therapeutic hypothermia has been shown to improve patients’ neurological outcome and is recommended by scientific societies. Despite these guidelines, different surveys report a heterogeneous application of this treatment. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the clinical practice of therapeutic hypothermia in cardiac arrest patients.

Methods

This self-declarative web based survey was proposed to all registered French adult intensive care units (ICUs) (n?=?357). Paediatrics and neurosurgery ICUs were excluded. The different questions addressed the structure, the practical modalities of therapeutic hypothermia and the use of prognostic factors in patients admitted after cardiac arrest.

Results

One hundred and thirty-two out of 357 ICUs (37%) answered the questionnaire. Adherence to recommendations regarding the targeted temperature and hypothermia duration were 98% and 94% respectively. Both guidelines were followed in 92% ICUs. During therapeutic hypothermia, sedative drugs were given in 99% ICUs, mostly midazolam (77%) and sufentanil (59%). Neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBA) were used in 97% ICUs, mainly cisatracurium (77%). Numerous prognostic factors were used after cardiac arrest such as clinical factors (95%), biomarkers (53%), electroencephalography (78%) and evoked potentials (35%).

Conclusions

In France, adherence to recommendations for therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest is higher than those previously reported in other countries. Numerous prognostic factors are widely used even if their reliability remains controversial.

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