For adults, but not children, with traumatic brain injuries, therapeutic hypothermia is beneficial, according to a meta-analysis published in Critical Care Medicine. Data were reviewed from 41 studies in adults (3109 patients aged 18 to 81 years) and from 8 studies in children (454 patients aged 3 months to 18 years). The researchers found that therapeutic hypothermia in adults was associated with an 18% reduction in mortality (risk ratio [RR], 0.82; 95% CI, 0.70 to 0.96) compared with adults who were kept normothermic, and a 35% improvement in neurologic outcome (RR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.18 to 1.54).
However, hypothermic treatment in children was associated with a 66% increase in mortality (RR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.06 to 2.59) and a trend toward deterioration in neurologic outcome (RR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.80 to 1.01).
“Therapeutic hypothermia is likely a beneficial treatment following traumatic brain injuries in adults but cannot be recommended in children,” the authors wrote.