Cooling a patient's body after cardiac arrest improves survival rates.
About 300,000 people in the U.S. suffer cardiac arrest each year. Fewer than 10% of those victims survive when it occurs outside a hospital, and of those, only a minority recover sufficient brain function to return their lives to normal.
A new study by the Minneapolis Heart Institute shows evidence that using a treatment to effectively cool a patient's body temperature by eight degrees can greatly increase a patient's survival and brain function.
Allen Fields says "it's extremely important, valuable. It obviously saved my life."
Allen Fields' heart stopped beating, while he was running the La Jolla half-marathon, last year. But fields still calls it his "lucky day."
Allen says "I was fortunate enough to have doctors in the race and doubly fortunate to be a little faster than they were because if they were in front of me, they would've never found me."
Those doctors got Allen's heart beating again.
Allen says "when I woke up, I wasn't even aware that that had even occurred."
And the treatment continued, as doctors cooled his body, to prevent brain damage. Doctor Shawn Evans says these cooling blankets lower the body's temperature by eight degrees. It's called "therapeutic hypothermia" and a new study shows it greatly increases patient survival and brain function.
Dr. Shawn Evans of Scripps Memorial Hospital says "and this study showed that about five percent walked out of the hospital and of those, those who had good cognitive outcomes did great."
An even newer treatment inserts this catheter directly into a blood vessel to more precisely cool the patient's body.
Allen says "neurologically, I wouldn't have been able to function. So by putting in the hypothermia state, I was able to overcome that."
Dr. Evans hopes this new study prompts more hospitals to use these life, and brain-saving treatments.
Dr. Evans says "that is one of the greatest advents in terms of our care, and improving the chain of survival."