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Cerebral Protection Using Mild Hypothermia

Brain temperatures markedly influence the consequences of cerebral ischemia, and a mild reduction of core temperature by 1-2°C may confer significant cerebral protection. Various studies have shown that mild hypothermia can be beneficial for stroke patients (lower infarct size and mortality) and febrile patients. Three primary modes of noninvasive cooling can be employed either individually or in combination—convective (forced air blankets), conductive (circulating water blankets/mattresses), and evaporative. However, the relative clinical efficacies of different methods for reducing core body temperature have not been thoroughly studied.

In evaluating any type of cooling technique that is employed without anesthesia, it is considered that skin warmth and thus vasodilation must be controlled in order to avoid counter-productive shivering. Thus, initial studies in our lab have aimed to comparatively assess the clinical application of focal facial warming and focal hand warming with several different cooling techniques in healthy, unanesthetized subjects.

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