Therapeutic Hypothermia for Neuroprotection: History, Mechanisms, Risks, and Clinical Applications

Lioudmila V. Karnatovskaia, Katja E. Wartenberg, William D. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The earliest recorded application of therapeutic hypothermia in medicine spans about 5000 years; however, its use has become widespread since 2002, following the demonstration of both safety and efficacy of regimens requiring only a mild (32°C-35°C) degree of cooling after cardiac arrest. We review the mechanisms by which hypothermia confers neuroprotection as well as its physiological effects by body system and its associated risks. With regard to clinical applications, we present evidence on the role of hypothermia in traumatic brain injury, intracranial pressure elevation, stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, spinal cord injury, hepatic encephalopathy, and neonatal peripartum encephalopathy. Based on the current knowledge and areas undergoing or in need of further exploration, we feel that therapeutic hypothermia holds promise in the treatment of patients with various forms of neurologic injury; however, additional quality studies are needed before its true role is fully known.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-163
Number of pages11
JournalThe Neurohospitalist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • clinical
  • clinical specialty
  • nervous system
  • neurocritical care
  • neurophysiology
  • techniques
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Therapeutic Hypothermia for Neuroprotection: History, Mechanisms, Risks, and Clinical Applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this