June 2, 2017 – Why Cool?


Anchor lead: Cooling the body is recommended for some after a heart attack, but why? Elizabeth Tracey reports


If you have a loved one who’s had a heart attack, should you ask whether they would benefit from cooling their body, as recommended by the American Academy of Neurology recently? Michael Blaha, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Blaha:I think it is worth family members who have a family member who’s had an out of hospital arrest to be aware of what the heart rhythm was and whether a shock was delivered in the field, and then to ask their doctors about whether cooling is right for their family member.  :13

Blaha says cooling works to prevent additional injury by a simple mechanism.

Blaha: It’s kind of like my fish in my fish pond. When they’re cooled they kind of nothing happens, their metabolism shuts down and then it warms up and all of a sudden they start swimming again. So you want to just slow the body’s metabolism down to the point where there’s not a whole lot going on so there’s less injury.   :14

Blaha notes that cooling also reduces the likelihood of fever, a common aftereffect of a heart attack. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.