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Mild hypothermia improved neurological outcome and reduced mortality after cardiac arrest because of ventricular fibrillation

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QUESTION: In patients who are resuscitated after cardiac arrest because of ventricular fibrillation, is mild hypothermia more effective than standard normothermia for improving neurological outcome?


Randomised {allocation concealed}*, blinded {data collectors, clinicians assessing neurological outcome}*, controlled trial with 6 months of follow up.


9 centres in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, and Italy.


275 patients seen in the emergency department who were 18–75 years of age (median age 59 y, 76% men) and had spontaneous circulation restored after a witnessed cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation or non-perfusing ventricular tachycardia as the initial cardiac rhythm; a presumed cardiac origin of the arrest; an estimated interval of 5–15 minutes from collapse to the first attempt at resuscitation by emergency medical personnel; and an interval of ≤60 minutes …

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  • Sources of funding: Fourth RTD Framework Programme 1994-1998 of the European Union; Austrian Ministry of Science and Transport; Austrian Science Foundation.

  • For correspondence: Dr F Sterz, Universitätsklinik für Notfallmedizin, Vienna, Austria. fritz.sterz{at}

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in ACP Journal Club.

  • * Information provided by author.