In the United States, 680 people experience cardiac arrest each day. When their hearts stop, blood flow to their brains is interrupted, and damage can occur. Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute specialists are prepared to treat cardiac arrest but also to evaluate and protect the brain from damage. In 2008 we became a national leader in using induced hypothermia to treat post-cardiac arrest patients. Patients may be candidates for induced hypothermia if they:
- are not responsive after the cardiac arrest
- require respiratory support in order to breathe
- have no significant head trauma or bleeding
- have relatively stable blood pressure and heart rhythm
Our emergency departments and cardiac teams at Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center work quickly to induce hypothermia within six hours, reducing the patient’s temperature to 91.7° F as soon as possible for a 24-hour period. During this time the patient will be temporarily paralyzed and provided with pain and sedation medications for comfort. After 24 hours the patient is slowly rewarmed to 97.7° F, and we can assess whether brain injury has occurred.