2010-08-13 / Top Stories

Life-Saving Hypothermia Technique

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano have announced that City Paramedics have begun treating cardiac arrest patients with hypothermia therapy – a new, life-saving medical procedure that has been proven to slow the deleterious impact of cardiac arrest on the human body.

The treatment involves providing cold intravenous liquids to patients in an effort to halt muscle and tissue damage as well as preserve neurological function for patients who survive a cardiac arrest.

Hypothermia treatment has already helped save hundreds of lives during the past 18 months in New York City hospitals, where it’s been administered to patients during Phase I of Project Hypothermia, a joint initiative between the City’s Emergency Medical Service and the Greater New York Hospital Association.

During Phase II, which began recently, paramedics will provide the treatment sooner, in ambulances and outside the hospital setting, in an effort to save even more lives with earlier intervention. The Mayor and Commissioner Cassano were joined by Elmhurst Hospital Executive Director Chris Constantino; Elmhurst Hospital Medical Director Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur; and Elmhurst Hospital Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. Stuart Kessler. “Hypothermia therapy slows down the brain’s demand for oxygen, which in turn can prevent damage to brain cells resulting from cardiac arrest,” Bloomberg said. “This innovative treatment, which has already been used to help hundreds of people survive and recover following cardiac arrest, will save lives and keep our city on the cutting edge of pre-hospital emergency medical care.”

“New Yorkers already know they get excellent service from our paramedics, EMTs and firefighters – and today we’re taking another big step to improve on what we do best – saving lives,” Cassano said.

“Hypothermia therapy has helped patients recover from the traumatic experience and damage normally associated with cardiac arrest. With our paramedics beginning this treatment sooner in the field, even more patients are going to benefit and we’re going to do an even better job of saving and improving the lives of affected New Yorkers.”

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