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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 186-198

Therapeutic hypothermia and targeted temperature management for traumatic brain injury: Experimental and clinical experience

Department of Neurological Surgery, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. W Dalton Dietrich
Department of Neurological Surgery, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1095 NW 14th Terrace, LPLC 2-30, Miami, FL 33136
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bc.bc_28_17

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a worldwide medical problem, and currently, there are few therapeutic interventions that can protect the brain and improve functional outcomes in patients. Over the last several decades, experimental studies have investigated the pathophysiology of TBI and tested various pharmacological treatment interventions targeting specific mechanisms of secondary damage. Although many preclinical treatment studies have been encouraging, there remains a lack of successful translation to the clinic and no therapeutic treatments have shown benefit in phase 3 multicenter trials. Therapeutic hypothermia and targeted temperature management protocols over the last several decades have demonstrated successful reduction of secondary injury mechanisms and, in some selective cases, improved outcomes in specific TBI patient populations. However, the benefits of therapeutic hypothermia have not been demonstrated in multicenter randomized trials to significantly improve neurological outcomes. Although the exact reasons underlying the inability to translate therapeutic hypothermia into a larger clinical population are unknown, this failure may reflect the suboptimal use of this potentially powerful therapeutic in potentially treatable severe trauma patients. It is known that multiple factors including patient recruitment, clinical treatment variables, and cooling methodologies are all important in yielding beneficial effects. High-quality multicenter randomized controlled trials that incorporate these factors are required to maximize the benefits of this experimental therapy. This article therefore summarizes several factors that are important in enhancing the beneficial effects of therapeutic hypothermia in TBI. The current failures of hypothermic TBI clinical trials in terms of clinical protocol design, patient section, and other considerations are discussed and future directions are emphasized.

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