Therapeutic Hypothermia: Cooling the Body to Save the Person

If you have suffered a heart attack, you may receive therapeutic hypothermia, a highly effective therapy that involves rapid cooling of the body. It’s fairly uncommon for a hospital the size of Mary Greeley Medical Center to have the equipment and training to perform therapeutic hypothermia. Mary Greeley has offered the treatment for several years to save lives.

Benefits of Cooling

When a body gets cooled rapidly, its systems slow down. Within six to eight hours of a heart attack, staff quickly cool patients down to 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit. With that cooling comes a slowed metabolic rate in the brain. Both of those things work together to decrease the amount of oxygen needed and help slow damage to the brain. The cooling also suppresses free radical production, which also protects brain cells. Sedatives help to suppress shivering until staff can slowly rewarm the person to normal body temperature.

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