Surface Cooling System for Fever Control in Neurocritical Care Patients: A Pilot Study

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Clinical neurology and neurosurgery


OBJECTIVES: Fever occurs in up to 50% of critically-ill patients with acute neurological injury. Small temperature elevations have been correlated with increased morbidity and mortality in this patient population. We sought to evaluate a novel single-use surface cooling system for the treatment of fever in patients with acute brain injury.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospective product evaluation using the EMCOOLS Flex.Pad™ system for acute fever (≥38.3 °C) in our 16-bed neuro-ICU. Four refrigerated pads (-18 °C) were applied to the chest, back, and anterior thighs. Core temperature (bladder) was continuously recorded over 4 h, and the highest Bedside Shivering Assessment Scale (BSAS) score was recorded hourly.

RESULTS: Twelve subjects were included in the analysis. Mean age was 55 ± 9 years, 9 patients were men, and mean weight was 85 ± 12 kg. The most common primary diagnoses were subarachnoid (N = 5) and intracerebral (N = 4) hemorrhage. Application of the EMCOOLS system resulted in a linear 1.3 ± 0.6 °C drop (T0avg=38.9 (0)C, T90avg=37.6 (0)C, P=0.0032) in mean temperature over 90min, followed by a plateau with only one subject rebounding to >38 degrees C within 4h. Normothermia (<38.0 (0)C) was achieved in all but one patient (92%) in an average of 65min. Comatose patients displayed a non-significantly higher degree of cooling at 90min than did awake subjects (DeltaTcoma=1.74 degrees C vs DeltaTawake=0.74 degrees C hr(-1), P=0.067). There was no observed skin irritation upon removal of the device for any patients.

CONCLUSION: The EMCOOLs system is a well-tolerated, safe and effective short-term intervention for control of fever in neurological patients. Future studies are needed to compare efficacy of the EMCOOLs to other devices and interventions.

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ePub ahead of print



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