New publication by Drs. Hegazy, Lapierre (PGY3), Butler, and colleagues explores cases of temperature control using esophageal cooling device

BMC Anesthesiol. 2015 Oct 19;15(1):152. PMID: 26481105

Temperature control in critically ill patients with a novel esophageal cooling device: a case series.

Hegazy AF, Lapierre DM, Butler R, Althenayan E. 


Mild hypothermia and fever control have been shown to improve neurological outcomes post cardiac arrest. Common methods to induce hypothermia include body surface cooling and intravascular cooling; however, a new approach using an esophageal cooling catheter has recently become available.

We report the first three cases of temperature control using an esophageal cooling device (ECD). The ECD was placed in a similar fashion to orogastric tubes. Temperature reduction was achieved by connecting the ECD to a commercially available external heat exchange unit (Blanketrol Hyperthermia - Hypothermia System).

The first patient, a 54 year-old woman (86 kg) was admitted after resuscitation from an out-of-hospital non-shockable cardiac arrest. Shortly after admission, she mounted a fever peaking at 38.3 °C despite administration of cold intravenous saline and application of cooling blankets. ECD utilization resulted in a temperature reduction to 35.7 °C over a period of 4 h. She subsequently recovered and was discharged home at day 23. The second patient, a 59 year-old man (73 kg), was admitted after successful resuscitation from a protracted out-of hospital cardiac arrest. His initial temperature was 35 °C, but slowly increased to 35.8 °C despite applying a cooling blanket and ice packs. The ECD was inserted and a temperature reduction to 34.8 °C was achieved within 3 h. The patient expired on day 3. The third patient, a 47 year-old man (95 kg) presented with a refractory fever secondary to necrotizing pneumonia in the postoperative period after coronary artery bypass grafting. His fever persisted despite empiric antibiotics, antipyretics, cooling blankets, and ice packs. ECD insertion resulted in a decrease in temperature from 39.5 to 36.5 °C in less than 5 h. He eventually made a favorable recovery and was discharged home after 59 days. In all 3 patients, device placement occurred in under 3 min and ease-of-use was reported as excellent by nursing staff and physicians.

The esophageal cooling device was found to be an effective temperature control modality in this small case series of critically ill patients. Preliminary data presented in this report needs to be confirmed in large randomized controlled trials comparing its efficacy and safety to standard temperature control modalities.

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