A systematic review of therapeutic hypothermia for adult patients following traumatic brain injury
Preclinical as well as clinical studies in traumatic brain injury (TBI) have established the likely association of secondary injury and outcome in adults in children following severe injury. Similarly, there is growing evidence in experimental laboratory studies that moderate hypothermia has a beneficial effect on outcome, though the exact mechanisms remain to be absolutely defined. The Pediatric TBI Guidelines provided the knowledge and background for standard management of children following severe TBI and highlighted that there are very few clinical studies to date. In particular with respect to temperature regulation and the use of hypothermia, initial findings of case series of small numbers were promising. Further preliminary randomized clinical trials, both single institution and multicenter, have provided the initial data on safety and efficacy, though larger, Phase III studies are necessary to ensure both the safety and efficacy of hypothermia in pediatric TBI prior to implementation as part of the standard of care. It is expected that hypothermia initiated early after severe TBI will have a protective effect on the pediatric brain and can be done safely, but this still remains to be definitively tested.