Therapeutic hypothermia for the management of intracranial hypertension in severe traumatic brain injury: A systematic review

Authors: Sadaka F, Veremakis C.

Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major source of death and severe disability worldwide. Raised Intracranial pressure (ICP) is an important predictor of mortality in patients with severe TBI and aggressive treatment of elevated ICP has been shown to reduce mortality and improve outcome. The acute post-injury period in TBI is characterized by several pathophysiologic processes that start in the minutes to hours following injury. All of these processes are temperature-dependent; they are all aggravated by fever and inhibited by hypothermia. Methods: This study reviewed the current clinical evidence in support of the use of therapeutic hypothermia (TH) for the treatment of intracranial hypertension (ICH) in patients with severe TBI. Results: This study identified a total of 18 studies involving hypothermia for control of ICP; 13 were randomized controlled trials (RCT) and five were observational studies. TH (32-34°C) was effective in controlling ICH in all studies. In the 13 RCT, ICP in the TH group was always significantly lower than ICP in the normothermia group. In the five observational studies, ICP during TH was always significantly lower than prior to inducing TH. Conclusions: Pending results from large multi-centre studies evaluating the effect of TH on ICH and outcome, TH should be included as a therapeutic option to control ICP in patients with severe TBI.

Brain Inj. 2012 Mar 26.

Full text and source: Brain Injury