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Review |

Prolonged Therapeutic Hypothermia After Traumatic Brain Injury in Adults:  A Systematic Review FREE

Lauralyn A. McIntyre, MD; Dean A. Fergusson, MHA, PhD; Paul C. Hébert, MD, MHSc; David Moher, MSc; James S. Hutchison, MD
[+] Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Intensive Care, Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario (Dr McIntyre); University of Ottawa Centre for Transfusion Research, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario (Dr Fergusson); Division of Intensive Care, Department of Medicine, the Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, (Dr Hébert), Chalmers Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology & Community Medicine, University of Ottawa (Mr Moher); and Departments of Critical Care and Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Dr Hutchison).


JAMA. 2003;289(22):2992-2999. doi:10.1001/jama.289.22.2992.
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Published online

Context The benefits of therapeutic hypothermia as a treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) remain unclear.

Objective To explore the effects of depth, duration, and rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia on mortality and neurologic outcome in adults after TBI.

Data Sources An electronic search of MEDLINE (OVID), EMBASE, Current Contents, the Cochrane library and a hand search of key journals were performed. Corresponding authors of identified studies were contacted for additional unpublished or ongoing clinical trials.

Study Selection All randomized controlled trials of therapeutic hypothermia for at least 24 hours vs normothermia in adults with TBI.

Data Extraction Demographic and clinical data, hypothermia interventions and cointerventions, mortality and neurologic outcomes, and methodological quality were abstracted by 2 independent reviewers.

Data Synthesis Twelve trials met eligibility criteria and were included in the analysis. We also performed subanalyses by different hypothermia interventions (ie, depth, duration, and rapidity of rewarming after hypothermia) and methodological quality. Therapeutic hypothermia was associated with a 19% reduction in the risk of death (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.69-0.96) and a 22% reduction in the risk of poor neurologic outcome (95% CI, 0.63-0.98) compared with normothermia. Hypothermia longer than 48 hours was associated with a reduction in the risks of death and of poor neurologic outcome (relative risk [RR], 0.70; 95% CI, 0.56-0.87 and RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.48-0.89, respectively) compared with normothermia. Hypothermia to a target temperature between 32°C and 33°C, a duration of 24 hours, and rewarming within 24 hours were all associated with reduced risks of poor neurologic outcome compared with normothermia. Assessment of methodological quality did not reveal evidence of bias.

Conclusions Therapeutic hypothermia may reduce the risks of mortality and poor neurologic outcome in adults with TBI. Outcomes were influenced, however, by depth and duration of hypothermia as well as rate of rewarming (≤24 hours) after discontinuation of hypothermia. Nonetheless, the evidence is not yet sufficient to recommend routine use of therapeutic hypothermia for TBI outside of research settings.

Figures in this Article

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as any brain injury that has been sustained secondary to externally inflicted trauma. This injury can result in death or a lifelong impairment of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning.1,2 It is an injury predominantly limited to the younger population. Some of the main causes of TBI include motor vehicle crashes, falls, acts of violence, and sports injuries.2 Although preventive measures have reduced the overall death rate from this devastating injury,1 no therapy has been shown to reduce mortality and improve neurologic outcome once the injury occurs.

Therapeutic hypothermia has been investigated as a possible neuroprotective strategy for the prevention or reduction of brain injury due to several causes. The exact mechanism by which it reduces the deleterious effects of brain injury is a matter of debate.3 Possible mechanisms include reductions in cerebral metabolic rate, increased intracranial pressure and cerebral edema formation,36 and attenuation in the opening of the blood-brain barrier.7 Hypothermia also inhibits the inflammatory response and the release of glutamate, nitric oxide, and free radicals associated with TBI.3,811

Therapeutic hypothermia is used as a primary preventive therapy for neuroprotection in cardiac surgical patient populations12 and is currently being investigated for its potential therapeutic benefit in ischemic stroke.13,14 Recently, 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have suggested that therapeutic hypothermia reduces mortality15 and improves neurologic outcome15,16 after cardiac arrest. It was first introduced for the treatment of TBI by Fay in 1945.17 Results of early experimental models of brain injury,18,19 as well as uncontrolled case series,17,2023 suggested that hypothermia may improve clinical outcomes. However, deep and prolonged hypothermia also was thought to be associated with the development of arrhythmias, coagulopathies, and pulmonary infections.2426 These adverse effects, as well as perceived benefits of alternative therapies in critical care, were the likely reasons it largely fell out of favor for the treatment of TBI in the 1960s.27 Research interest in this therapy resurged in the 1980s because investigators found that moderate hypothermia (30°C-33°C) in experimental models of TBI reduced neuronal loss and improved behavioral outcomes.2831 In addition, a number of small RCTs have suggested potential benefits.12,32,33

Recent laboratory and clinical research suggests that time from injury to initiation of hypothermia may have a differential impact on the effects of secondary brain injury, and hence, clinical outcome.3,34 Similar findings have been reported for depth,18,35 duration,33 and rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia.36,37 Although 2 previous reviews on hypothermia for TBI have been published,38,39 neither have explored these factors in detail. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review to explore the effects of depth, duration, and rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia on mortality and neurologic outcome in adults after TBI.

Study Identification

Published and unpublished RCTs of therapeutic hypothermia in adults with TBI were identified using both electronic and manual search strategies. MEDLINE (OVID) database was searched from January 1, 1966, to week 1 of September 2002, using a combination of the following medical subject heading (MeSH) terms: "induced hypothermia," "hypothermia," and "cranio-cerebral trauma"; and the following text words with truncation where appropriate: "refrigeration anesthesia," "cryoanesthesia," "artificial hybernation," "hypothermia," "head trauma," "head injury," and "brain concussion."

An RCT filter and a systematic review filter was applied to the MEDLINE search strategy to identify RCTs and systematic reviews.40 The electronic search was supplemented by a search of Current Contents from week 27 of year 1993 to week 40 of year 2002, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library, which contain the CENTRAL Database of Controlled Trials, as well as the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Database of Abstracts of Review Effectiveness.41 We also conducted a review of the conference proceedings from the Cochrane review.38 These proceedings included the International Conference on Recent Advances in Neurotraumatology, Rimi-Riccione, Italy, September 1996; the 2nd International Neurotrauma Symposium Glasgow, Scotland, 1993; the 3rd International Neurotrauma Symposium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 1995; the 4th International Neurotrauma Symposium, Seoul, South Korea, August 1997; the 27th Meeting of the Society for Critical Care Medicine, San Antonio, Tx, February 1998; and the 10th International Symposium on Intracranial Pressure, Williamsburg, Va, May 1997. The search was not restricted by language or type of publication. The bibliographies of all identified RCTs and review articles also were reviewed. Authors of the RCTs were contacted to identify unpublished studies and abstracts, and for their knowledge of any unpublished or ongoing clinical trials.

Study Selection Criteria

Each RCT was evaluated on the basis of 4 inclusion criteria: study design (RCT), target population (adults with TBI), therapeutic intervention and comparison (at least 24 hours of therapeutic hypothermia at any time after sustaining TBI vs normothermia), and outcome (all-cause mortality, which was the primary outcome measure). Figure 1 outlines how studies were screened and retrieved for inclusion.

Figure 1. Study Selection Process
Graphic Jump Location
RCTs indicates randomized controlled trials.
Data Extraction of Primary Studies

Two reviewers (L.A.M. and J.S.H.) independently extracted data from the primary studies, and any disagreements were resolved through consensus. Extracted information included demographic data, information on the pattern and extent of injuries, presence of comorbid illnesses, and a detailed description of the hypothermia intervention (ie, depth and duration of cooling and rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia), as well as other cointerventions and physiologic goals for brain injury management through the cooling period (ie, therapies to control intracranial pressure and cerebral perfusion pressure).

The primary outcome measure was all-cause mortality at the end of the trial follow-up period. The secondary outcome measure was neurologic outcome at the end of the trial follow-up. Poor neurologic outcome was defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of severe disability, vegetative state, or death. When necessary, authors of the articles were contacted for clarification and for additional information.

Assessment of Methodological Quality of Primary Studies

Two reviewers (L.A.M. and J.S.H.) assessed methodological quality of the individual studies and disagreements were resolved through consensus. Similar to methods used in the Cochrane review,38 the 2 items used to assess methodological quality were allocation concealment and blinding of the outcome assessment. Both items are potentially associated with bias in estimation of the true treatment effect.38,42,43 We included blinding of neurologic outcome assessment as a measure of quality for these RCTs because unlike mortality, reported neurologic outcome is subjective and thus another potential source of bias. Studies were considered to be of high methodological quality if allocation concealment was present and the outcome assessment was blinded; of moderate methodological quality if allocation concealment was unclear but the outcome assessment was blinded; and of low methodological quality if allocation concealment was unclear and the outcome assessment was not blinded. Studies that reported losses to follow-up and/or missing outcome assessments also were documented.

Prior Hypotheses Regarding Sources of Heterogeneity

Heterogeneity is a major threat to the interpretation and validity of meta-analyses and can be because of differences in methods, study populations, interventions, outcomes, or chance.44 We deliberately sought to identify significant differences in the hypothermia interventions between trials that may have caused a differential effect on mortality and neurologic outcome. Sources of heterogeneity in these hypothermia interventions included an examination of different depths (32°C-33°C vs 33.5°C-34.5°C); durations (24 hours, 48 hours, and >48 hours) and rates of rewarming (≤24 hours vs > 24 hours) after discontinuation of hypothermia. Definitions for mild and moderate hypothermia varied among the individual studies. Therefore, we dichotomized depth of hypothermia as 32°C to 33°C and 33.5°C to 34.5°C.

Sensitivity analyses included an examination for the presence of methodological heterogeneity (high vs moderate vs low quality) between the individual trials for the mortality and the neurologic outcome. We also assessed the effect of the mortality outcome by removing the largest RCT.

Statistical Methods

Data from all 12 studies were combined to estimate the pooled relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) with a random-effects model (Meta.Analyst.977, Lau J, Chalmers TC; 1990). An RR less than 1.0 suggests a reduced risk of death or poor neurologic outcome while an RR greater than 1.0 suggests an increased risk of death or poor neurologic outcome, for the hypothermia group compared with the normothermia group. The prespecified analyses for depth, duration, and rate of rewarming following discontinuation of hypothermia and sensitivity analyses were conducted in a similar fashion. Evidence of publication bias was evaluated with an inverted funnel plot.45 Presence of statistical heterogeneity between studies was evaluated using the Cochran Q test of homogeneity.46

Identification of Studies

A total of 867 citations were identified by our search strategy. Of these, 13 RCTs met our initial inclusion criteria.11,12,3234,4754 One non–English-language citation was identified as potentially relevant but was not retrievable despite a thorough search by our librarian as well as a search from the Canadian national science library (Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information).54 It is unclear if this study was an RCT. Thus, a total of 12 studies were included in this review. All but 3 citations were identified by the electronic search strategy. These citations were identified through a search of the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register52,53 and 1 was a published systematic review.51 One unpublished study was identified from the Cochrane review.38

Study Characteristics

Twelve RCTs comprising a total of 1069 patients were identified: 543 patients in the therapeutic hypothermia group and 526 patients in the control (normothermia) group. Ages of patients ranged from 16 years to 81 years. In the 7 studies that reported the proportion of males to females, males accounted for more than 70% of the sample.11,33,40,47,48,50,52 Nine studies included patients with severe brain injury defined by a Glasgow Coma Score of 8 or less12,33,34,4750,52,53 and 3 with a Glasgow Coma Score of 7 or less.11,32,51 Five studies included the time from injury to initiation of hypothermia as part of the inclusion/exclusion criteria.11,32,34,50,52 Eight studies initiated cooling within 6 hours of injury or admission to hospital,11,12,34,47,5052 and this was unclear in 4 studies.33,48,49,53 Seven studies excluded patients if major injuries to other organs were present12,32,34,47,49,50,52 and 3 studies excluded patients if they had sustained hypotension or hypoxia.11,32,34 One study provided a severity of illness score validated for trauma patients34 and no study reported on presence of comorbid illnesses.

Differences between hypothermia interventions were found among studies (Table 1). Two studies induced cooling for 24 hours,11,12 5 for 48 hours,32,34,47,49,51 and 5 for more than 48 hours.33,48,50,52,53 Three studies induced hypothermia to target a temperature between 33.5°C and 34.5°C33,47,49 and 5 studies to target a temperature between 32°C and 33°C.11,32,50,51,53 Four studies could not be categorized according to target temperatures.12,34,48,52 The rewarming period after discontinuation of hypothermia was 24 hours or less for 6 studies11,12,32,34,48,51 and more than 24 hours in 4 studies.33,47,49,50 Two studies did not report the rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia.52,53

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1. Therapeutic Hypothermia Interventions and Assessment of Methodological Quality for All Included Randomized Controlled Trials

Nine studies outlined physiologic goals for managing intracranial pressure11,12,3234,4749,51 and 5 outlined physiologic goals for managing both intracranial pressure and cerebral perfusion pressure (Table 2).11,34,4749 Cointerventions instituted to achieve these physiologic goals included drainage of ventricular cerebrospinal fluid and hyperventilation, as well as the use of osmotic agents, diuretics, barbiturates, fluid therapy, and vasoactive agents. Four studies described intensity of therapy prescribed for control of intracranial pressure and/or cerebral perfusion pressure.32,34,47,51 No study described in adequate detail treatment protocols to explain how each cointervention was used in the individual studies, and no study described how often hypothermia goals were achieved during the study period. Baseline characteristics of the study patients also are summarized in Table 2.

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2. Baseline Characteristics, Physiologic Goals and Cointerventions to Meet These Goals for All Included Randomized Controlled Trials

Four studies reported mortality and neurologic outcome at 3 months,12,32,47,51 4 studies at 6 months,33,34,49,50 1 at 1 year,48 and 1 at all these time points.11 Two studies did not report follow-up times for mortality.52,53 Mortality in the normothermic group ranged from 0% to 82%, with 2 studies reporting mortality rates between 80% and 90%,33,52 3 between 40% and 50%,48,51,53 1 between 30% and 40%,32 3 between 20% and 30%,11,34,50 2 between 10% and 20%,12,47 and 1 with no deaths.49 Ten of the 12 studies reported neurologic outcomes.11,12,3234,4751

Two studies were graded as high methodological quality,11,34 3 as moderate quality,32,48,50 and 5 as low quality(Table 2).12,33,47,49,51 Three studies reported losses to follow-up or missing information pertaining to the outcome assessment for a total of 5 patients in the hypothermia group and 21 patients in the normothermia group.11,32,47

Effect of Therapeutic Hypothermia on Mortality

The pooled RR of death was 0.81 (95% CI, 0.69-0.96; Cochran Q = 8.12), conferring a significant protective effect of the therapeutic hypothermia relative to normothermia (Figure 2). Although statistical heterogeneity was not detected in the pooled results, we were still concerned about the possibility of heterogeneity in the hypothermia interventions. Indeed, cooling induced for greater than 48 hours was associated with an even greater reduction in the risk of death (RR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.56-0.87) (Figure 3). This effect remained significant after removal of 1 study33 that cooled only a subset of patients (30%) for more than 48 hours (RR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.57-0.91). None of the other subanalyses were statistically significant. Analyses exploring methodological quality did not detect evidence of bias in estimation of the treatment effect for mortality. Reduction in the risk of death remained significant after removal of the largest clinical trial34 (RR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.62-0.91). An inverted funnel plot did not suggest evidence of publication bias.

Figure 2. Mortality in Therapeutic Hypothermia
Graphic Jump Location
Figure 3. Mortality According to Different Hypothermia Interventions
Graphic Jump Location
Effect of Therapeutic Hypothermia on Neurologic Outcome

The pooled RR for a poor neurological outcome was 0.78 (95% CI, 0.63-0.98; Cochran Q = 16.05) (Figure 4). However, the analysis of heterogeneity did show statistical significance (Figure 5). The benefit also was present when hypothermia was induced for more than 48 hours (RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.48-0.89) or for 24 hours (RR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39-0.97). Studies that included both induced moderate hypothermia and rewarming within 24 hours after discontinuation of hypothermia also were associated with a reduction in the risk of a poor neurologic outcome (RR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.45-0.83 and RR, 0.79; 95% CI 0.63-0.98, respectively). No other comparisons between hypothermia interventions were statistically significant. Analyses according to methodological quality did not reveal evidence of bias in estimation of the treatment effect.

Figure 4. Poor Neurologic Outcome for Therapeutic Hypothermia*
Graphic Jump Location
*Poor neurologic outcome is defined as severe disability or vegetative state or death according the Glasgow Outcome Scale score.
Figure 5. Poor Neurologic Outcome According to Different Hypothermia Interventions*
Graphic Jump Location
*Poor neurologic outcome is defined as severe disability or vegetative state or death according the Glasgow Outcome Scale score.

We observed a significant reduction in the risk of death and poor neurological outcome in favor of therapeutic hypothermia compared with normothermia. However, we hypothesized that heterogeneity related to different hypothermia interventions (ie, depth and duration of cooling and rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia) could have a differential effect outcome. Indeed, we found that hypothermia induced for 24 hours was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of a poor neurologic outcome, and if induced for more than 48 hours, the reduction in risk was significant both for neurologic outcome and death. The risk of a poor neurologic outcome also was reduced with the induction of hypothermia to a target temperature between 32°C and 33°C, and when rewarming occurred within 24 hours after discontinuation of hypothermia.

Although therapeutic hypothermia appears to show a benefit, it also is important to be aware of its potential complications: the risk of arrhythmias, coagulopathies, and infections.2426 With hypothermia in the range of 32°C to 34.5°C, infections, and especially pulmonary infections, are the most clinically relevant. Indeed, the Cochrane review found an increased odds of pulmonary infection in the hypothermia group compared with the normothermia group.38 Because no additional studies in our review reported this complication, we did not perform this analysis.

Both laboratory and clinical studies have suggested that time to initiate cooling, as well as duration and depth of cooling, and rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia may cause different physiological and biochemical effects, and hence, a potential for varying effects on secondary brain injury and clinical outcome. A randomized controlled experimental study of brain injury in a rat model found that neurologic deficits were reduced to a greater extent when hypothermia was induced within 60 minutes of the injury vs after 90 minutes or more.3 A secondary analysis of data from a large multicenter RCT of hypothermia and head injury also supported this finding.34 In a subset of 81 patients who were hypothermic on admission (<35°C) and younger than 45 years, a trend toward a better neurological outcome at 6 months was noted in comparison with patients randomized to the normothermia group (RR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-1.0).34 However, the studies that we reviewed did not provide sufficient detail to analyze the time from injury to initiation of hypothermia.

Prolonged duration of hypothermia also may reduce the effects of secondary brain injury and thus lead to an improvement in clinical outcome. In an experimental model of brain injury, Markgraf et al3 reported that cerebral edema remains elevated at 4 days, and possibly as many as 7 days after the injury. These findings suggest that mechanisms of secondary brain injury are mediated for several days after the initial injury and based on the results of this experimental study, we believe it is plausible that cooling for longer than 48 hours may maximize clinical outcome.

Laboratory studies have suggested that depth of hypothermia may have a varying effect on clinical outcomes. Different depths of hypothermia may have varying protective effects due to differing effects on metabolism and on inhibition of molecular mechanisms of secondary brain injury. Our analysis, according to depth of hypothermia, found that the risk of a poor neurologic outcome in the hypothermia group was reduced with induction of hypothermia to target temperatures of 32°C to 33°C as compared with the normothermia group.

Rate of rewarming after discontinuation of hypothermia also has the potential to affect outcome. In a laboratory study, Matsushita et al36 induced brain injury followed by a hypoxic insult in rats, followed by either hypothermia or normothermia. Rats with hypothermia then were rewarmed over a period of either 15 minutes or 2 hours. In the group that was rewarmed for 2 hours, the volume of contused brain was significantly lower than matched normothermic control brains. However, the hypothermia group rewarmed within 15 minutes showed no benefit, suggesting that rate of rewarming may be important in improving clinical outcome, particularly after sustaining a hypoxic cerebral insult.37 Our analysis, however, did not detect a protective effect for slower rewarming. Indeed, our results suggest that rewarming within 24 hours may reduce the risk of a poor neurologic outcome. Possible explanations for differences in results between laboratory data and our analysis include different mechanisms of brain injury, different baseline characteristics between the 2 treatment groups, and importantly, possible loss of information because of an arbitrary choice of a time threshold of 24 hours in our analysis.

Experience in treating patients with TBI, as well as quality of care,55 detailed treatment protocols for hypothermia, and cointerventions for TBI5658 are 4 other important potential sources of heterogeneity in these studies. We did not explore these important aspects of clinical care in any depth given the limitation of information reported in the studies we reviewed.

Two other systematic reviews have evaluated the effect of therapeutic hypothermia on outcomes from TBI.38,39 We believe that our review adds novel information in our more detailed analysis of hypothermia interventions. We also included 2 more trials than the Cochrane review38 and 6 more trials than Harris et al.39 Finally, we searched the non–English-language literature and included 1 non–English-lanuage study.53

Our results suggest that the greatest clinical benefit may be derived when patients are cooled to a target temperature of 32°C to 33°C, with a duration of greater than 48 hours, and then rewarmed within 24 hours after discontinuation of hypothermia. However, our results should be interpreted with some caution because our analysis included a small number of high-quality trials, thus perhaps biasing our results in favor of the treatment effect.42 In addition, 1 large multicenter trial demonstrated no benefit associated with hypothermia. However, the inclusion or exclusion of this trial did not affect the overall interpretation of the results. Finally, other potential sources of heterogeneity not explored in this review, such as the intensity and quality of care delivered, time from injury to initiation of hypothermia, and achievement and adherence to hypothermia interventions and cointerventions, may have affected the clinical outcome assessments. For these reasons, our results should not influence clinical practice at this time. Instead, we believe this review provides valuable information to assist in the design of future clinical trials.

Additional studies are now underway to examine the role of hypothermia for the treatment of TBI. Clifton is currently conducting an RCT for patients who are between 16 years and 45 years of age and have hypothermia on arrival to hospital (<35°C) (information obtained from the metaRegister of Controlled Trials). Currently in progress are 2 RCTs in children (oral and written communication with J. S. Hutchison, MD, and P. D. Adelson, MD, November 6, 2002). In light of the results of our analysis, it may be important to conduct a clinical trial that induces hypothermia to a target temperature of 32°C to 33°C, with duration greater than 48 hours, and a rewarming period of 24 hours or less, to see if benefit from this therapeutic intervention can be maximized.

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Bernard SA, MacC Jones B, Buist M. Experience with prolonged induced hypothermia in severe head injury.  Crit Care.1999;3:167-172.
Matsushita Y, Bramlett HM, Alonso O, Dietrich WD. Posttraumatic hypothermia is neuroprotective in a model of traumatic brain injury complicated by a secondary hypoxic insult.  Crit Care Med.2001;29:2060-2066.
Vespa PM. Slow rewarming: a cool model of posttraumatic hypothermia.  Crit Care Med.2001;29:2224-2225.
Gadkary C, Alderson P, Signorini D. Therapeutic hypothermia for head injury.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2002;1:CD001048.
Harris OA, Colford Jr JM, Good MC, Matz PG. The role of hypothermia in the management of severe brain injury: a meta-analysis.  Arch Neurol.2002;59:1077-1083.
Haynes RB, Wilczynski N, McKibbon KA, Walker CJ, Sinclair JC. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound studies in MEDLINE.  J Am Med Inform Assoc.1994;1:447-458.
The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register.  The Cochrane Library [Issue 1]. 2002. Available at: http://www.cochranelibrary.com. Accessed May 20, 2003.
Schulz KF, Chalmers I, Hayes RJ, Altman DG. Empirical evidence of bias: dimensions of methodological quality associated with estimates of treatment effects in controlled trials.  JAMA.1995;273:408-412.
Moher D, Pham B, Jones A.  et al.  Does quality of reports of randomised trials affect estimates of intervention efficacy reported in meta-analyses?  Lancet.1998;352:609-613.
Heyland DK, Novak F, Drover JW, Jain M, Su X, Suchner U. Should immunonutrition become routine in critically ill patients? a systematic review of the evidence.  JAMA.2001;286:944-953.
Egger M, Davey SG, Schneider M, Minder C. Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test.  BMJ.1997;315:629-634.
Hedges LV, Olkin I. Statistical Methods for Meta-AnalysisNew York, NY: Academia Press; 2002.
Shiozaki T, Hayakata T, Taneda M.  et al.  A multicenter prospective randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of mild hypothermia for severely head injured patients with low intracranial pressure: Mild Hypothermia Study Group in Japan.  J Neurosurg.2001;94:50-54.
Jiang J, Yu M, Zhu C. Effect of long-term mild hypothermia therapy in patients with severe traumatic brain injury: 1-year follow-up review of 87 cases.  J Neurosurg.2000;93:546-549.
Shiozaki T, Kato A, Taneda M.  et al.  Little benefit from mild hypothermia therapy for severely head injured patients with low intracranial pressure.  J Neurosurg.1999;91:185-191.
Aibiki M, Maekawa S, Yokono S. Moderate hypothermia improves imbalances of thromboxane A2 and prostaglandin I2 production after traumatic brain injury in humans.  Crit Care Med.2000;28:3902-3906.
Hirayama T, Katayama Y, Kano T, Hayashi N, Tsubokawa T. Impact of moderate hypothermia on therapies for intracranial pressure control in severe traumatic brain injury. In: H. Nagai, S. Ishii, M. Maeda, eds. Intracranial Pressure IX: 9th International Symposium Held in Nagaya Japan 1994. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 1994:233-236.
Yan Y, Tang W. Changes of evoked potentials and evaluation of mild hypothermia for treatment of severe brain injury.  Chin J Traumatol.2001;4:8-13.
Zhang K, Wang JX. Comparative study on mild hypothermia in patients with severe head injury and the most severe head injury.  Inner Mongol Med Journal.2000;32:4-6.
Shen JH, Shen MW. Application of mild hypothermia in treatment of severe brain injury.  Heibel Med J.2000;6:498-500.
Clifton GL, Choi SC, Miller ER.  et al.  Intercenter variance in clinical trials of head trauma experience of the National Acute Brain Injury Study: Hypothermia.  J Neurosurg.2001;95:751-755.
Ginsberg MD. Therapeutic trials for traumatic brain injury—a journey in progress.  Crit Care Med.2002;30:935-936.
Clifton GL, Miller ER, Choi SC, Levin HS. Fluid thresholds and outcome from severe brain injury.  Crit Care Med.2002;30:739-745.
Patel HC, Menon DK, Tebbs S, Hawker R, Hutchinson PJ, Kirkpatrick PJ. Specialist neurocritical care and outcome from head injury.  Intensive Care Med.2002;28:547-553.

Figures

Figure 1. Study Selection Process
Graphic Jump Location
RCTs indicates randomized controlled trials.
Figure 2. Mortality in Therapeutic Hypothermia
Graphic Jump Location
Figure 3. Mortality According to Different Hypothermia Interventions
Graphic Jump Location
Figure 4. Poor Neurologic Outcome for Therapeutic Hypothermia*
Graphic Jump Location
*Poor neurologic outcome is defined as severe disability or vegetative state or death according the Glasgow Outcome Scale score.
Figure 5. Poor Neurologic Outcome According to Different Hypothermia Interventions*
Graphic Jump Location
*Poor neurologic outcome is defined as severe disability or vegetative state or death according the Glasgow Outcome Scale score.

Tables

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1. Therapeutic Hypothermia Interventions and Assessment of Methodological Quality for All Included Randomized Controlled Trials
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2. Baseline Characteristics, Physiologic Goals and Cointerventions to Meet These Goals for All Included Randomized Controlled Trials

References

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Chopp M, Knight R, Tidwell CD, Helpern JA, Brown E, Welch KM. The metabolic effects of mild hypothermia on global cerebral ischemia and recirculation in the cat: comparison to normothermia and hyperthermia.  J Cereb Blood Flow Metab.1989;9:141-148.
Busto R, Dietrich WD, Globus MY, Ginsberg MD. The importance of brain temperature in cerebral ischemic injury.  Stroke.1989;20:1113-1114.
Clifton GL, Jiang JY, Lyeth BG, Jenkins LW, Hamm RJ, Hayes RL. Marked protection by moderate hypothermia after experimental traumatic brain injury.  J Cereb Blood Flow Metab.1991;11:114-121.
Clifton GL, Allen S, Barrodale P.  et al.  A phase II study of moderate hypothermia in severe brain injury.  J Neurotrauma.1993;10:263-271.
Shiozaki T, Sugimoto H, Taneda M.  et al.  Effect of mild hypothermia on uncontrollable intracranial hypertension after severe head injury.  J Neurosurg.1993;79:363-368.
Clifton GL, Miller ER, Choi SC.  et al.  Lack of effect of induction of hypothermia after acute brain injury.  N Engl J Med.2001;344:556-563.
Bernard SA, MacC Jones B, Buist M. Experience with prolonged induced hypothermia in severe head injury.  Crit Care.1999;3:167-172.
Matsushita Y, Bramlett HM, Alonso O, Dietrich WD. Posttraumatic hypothermia is neuroprotective in a model of traumatic brain injury complicated by a secondary hypoxic insult.  Crit Care Med.2001;29:2060-2066.
Vespa PM. Slow rewarming: a cool model of posttraumatic hypothermia.  Crit Care Med.2001;29:2224-2225.
Gadkary C, Alderson P, Signorini D. Therapeutic hypothermia for head injury.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2002;1:CD001048.
Harris OA, Colford Jr JM, Good MC, Matz PG. The role of hypothermia in the management of severe brain injury: a meta-analysis.  Arch Neurol.2002;59:1077-1083.
Haynes RB, Wilczynski N, McKibbon KA, Walker CJ, Sinclair JC. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound studies in MEDLINE.  J Am Med Inform Assoc.1994;1:447-458.
The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register.  The Cochrane Library [Issue 1]. 2002. Available at: http://www.cochranelibrary.com. Accessed May 20, 2003.
Schulz KF, Chalmers I, Hayes RJ, Altman DG. Empirical evidence of bias: dimensions of methodological quality associated with estimates of treatment effects in controlled trials.  JAMA.1995;273:408-412.
Moher D, Pham B, Jones A.  et al.  Does quality of reports of randomised trials affect estimates of intervention efficacy reported in meta-analyses?  Lancet.1998;352:609-613.
Heyland DK, Novak F, Drover JW, Jain M, Su X, Suchner U. Should immunonutrition become routine in critically ill patients? a systematic review of the evidence.  JAMA.2001;286:944-953.
Egger M, Davey SG, Schneider M, Minder C. Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test.  BMJ.1997;315:629-634.
Hedges LV, Olkin I. Statistical Methods for Meta-AnalysisNew York, NY: Academia Press; 2002.
Shiozaki T, Hayakata T, Taneda M.  et al.  A multicenter prospective randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of mild hypothermia for severely head injured patients with low intracranial pressure: Mild Hypothermia Study Group in Japan.  J Neurosurg.2001;94:50-54.
Jiang J, Yu M, Zhu C. Effect of long-term mild hypothermia therapy in patients with severe traumatic brain injury: 1-year follow-up review of 87 cases.  J Neurosurg.2000;93:546-549.
Shiozaki T, Kato A, Taneda M.  et al.  Little benefit from mild hypothermia therapy for severely head injured patients with low intracranial pressure.  J Neurosurg.1999;91:185-191.
Aibiki M, Maekawa S, Yokono S. Moderate hypothermia improves imbalances of thromboxane A2 and prostaglandin I2 production after traumatic brain injury in humans.  Crit Care Med.2000;28:3902-3906.
Hirayama T, Katayama Y, Kano T, Hayashi N, Tsubokawa T. Impact of moderate hypothermia on therapies for intracranial pressure control in severe traumatic brain injury. In: H. Nagai, S. Ishii, M. Maeda, eds. Intracranial Pressure IX: 9th International Symposium Held in Nagaya Japan 1994. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 1994:233-236.
Yan Y, Tang W. Changes of evoked potentials and evaluation of mild hypothermia for treatment of severe brain injury.  Chin J Traumatol.2001;4:8-13.
Zhang K, Wang JX. Comparative study on mild hypothermia in patients with severe head injury and the most severe head injury.  Inner Mongol Med Journal.2000;32:4-6.
Shen JH, Shen MW. Application of mild hypothermia in treatment of severe brain injury.  Heibel Med J.2000;6:498-500.
Clifton GL, Choi SC, Miller ER.  et al.  Intercenter variance in clinical trials of head trauma experience of the National Acute Brain Injury Study: Hypothermia.  J Neurosurg.2001;95:751-755.
Ginsberg MD. Therapeutic trials for traumatic brain injury—a journey in progress.  Crit Care Med.2002;30:935-936.
Clifton GL, Miller ER, Choi SC, Levin HS. Fluid thresholds and outcome from severe brain injury.  Crit Care Med.2002;30:739-745.
Patel HC, Menon DK, Tebbs S, Hawker R, Hutchinson PJ, Kirkpatrick PJ. Specialist neurocritical care and outcome from head injury.  Intensive Care Med.2002;28:547-553.
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