There have been no RCTs looking at induced hypothermia following in hospital arrest. The 2010 ACLS guidelines recommended hypothermia for out of hospital VF/PVT arrest but only recommended that it be considered for other types of arrest. However the 2015 guidelines extended the recommendation to all post arrest comatose patients regardless of the arrest location. A new cohort study published in JAMA, drawing from a very large database, calls this into question. From the paper:
Importance Therapeutic hypothermia is used for patients following both out-of-hospital and in-hospital cardiac arrest. However, randomized trials on its efficacy for the in-hospital setting do not exist, and comparative effectiveness data are limited.
Objective To evaluate the association between therapeutic hypothermia and survival after in-hospital cardiac arrest.
Design, Setting, and Patients In this cohort study, within the national Get With the Guidelines–Resuscitation registry, 26 183 patients successfully resuscitated from an in-hospital cardiac arrest between March 1, 2002, and December 31, 2014, and either treated or not treated with hypothermia at 355 US hospitals were identified. Follow-up ended February 4, 2015.
Exposure Induction of therapeutic hypothermia.
Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge. The secondary outcome was favorable neurological survival, defined as a Cerebral Performance Category score of 1 or 2 (ie, without severe neurological disability). Comparisons were performed using a matched propensity score analysis and examined for all cardiac arrests and separately for nonshockable (asystole and pulseless electrical activity) and shockable (ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia) cardiac arrests.
Results Overall, 1568 of 26 183 patients with in-hospital cardiac arrest (6.0%) were treated with therapeutic hypothermia; 1524 of these patients (mean [SD] age, 61.6 [16.2] years; 58.5% male) were matched by propensity score to 3714 non–hypothermia-treated patients (mean [SD] age, 62.2 [17.5] years; 57.1% male). After adjustment, therapeutic hypothermia was associated with lower in-hospital survival (27.4% vs 29.2%; relative risk [RR], 0.88 [95% CI, 0.80 to 0.97]; risk difference, −3.6% [95% CI, −6.3% to −0.9%]; P = .01), and this association was similar (interaction P = .74) for nonshockable cardiac arrest rhythms (22.2% vs 24.5%; RR, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.76 to 0.99]; risk difference, −3.2% [95% CI, −6.2% to −0.3%]) and shockable cardiac arrest rhythms (41.3% vs 44.1%; RR, 0.90 [95% CI, 0.77 to 1.05]; risk difference, −4.6% [95% CI, −10.9% to 1.7%]). Therapeutic hypothermia was also associated with lower rates of favorable neurological survival for the overall cohort (hypothermia-treated group, 17.0% [246 of 1443 patients]; non–hypothermia-treated group, 20.5% [725 of 3529 patients]; RR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.69 to 0.90]; risk difference, −4.4% [95% CI, −6.8% to −2.0%]; P less than .001) and for both rhythm types (interaction P = .88).
Conclusions and Relevance Among patients with in-hospital cardiac arrest, use of therapeutic hypothermia compared with usual care was associated with a lower likelihood of survival to hospital discharge and a lower likelihood of favorable neurological survival. These observational findings warrant a randomized clinical trial to assess efficacy of therapeutic hypothermia for in-hospital cardiac arrest.
The ACLS guidelines now have a dynamic (continuously updating) web page but this study has yet to be mentioned there.