Therapeutic hypothermia is currently one of the most important methods of neuroprotection. It involves lowering a patients body temperature in order to help reduce the risk of ischemic injury to tissue following a period of insufficient blood flow. Periods of insufficient blood flow may be due to cardiac arrest and the occlusion of an artery by an embolism as occurs in the case of strokes.
The mechanisms of action of therapeutic hypothermia (TH) are varied and can affect many metabolic pathways, reactions of inflammation, apoptosis processes, and promote neuronal integrity. TH can be induced by invasive means, in which a catheter is inserted into the inferior vena cava via the femoral vein, or by non-invasive means. Non invasive may utilize a chilled water blanket or torso vest and leg wraps which are in direct contact with the patients skin. Studies have demonstrated that patients at risk for ischemic brain injuries have better outcomes if treated with TH in a timely manner (Winslow, R. 2009), (Holzer, M. 200