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Automated peritoneal lavage: an extremely rapid and safe way to induce hypothermia in post-resuscitation patients

Monique C de Waard1*, Hagen Biermann1, Stijn L Brinckman2, Yolande E Appelman2, Ronald H Driessen1, Kees H Polderman3, Armand RJ Girbes1 and Albertus Beishuizen1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Intensive Care, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, 1007 MB, The Netherlands

2 Department of Cardiology, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, 1007 MB, The Netherlands

3 Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 3550 Terrace Street, 601A Scaife Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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Critical Care 2013, 17:R31  doi:10.1186/cc12518

Published: 20 February 2013



Mild therapeutic hypothermia (MTH) is a worldwide used therapy to improve neurological outcome in patients successfully resuscitated after cardiac arrest (CA). Preclinical data suggest that timing and speed of induction are related to reduction of secondary brain damage and improved outcome.


Aiming at a rapid induction and stable maintenance phase, MTH induced via continuous peritoneal lavage (PL) using the Velomedix® Inc. automated PL system was evaluated and compared to historical controls in which hypothermia was achieved using cooled saline intravenous infusions and cooled blankets.


In 16 PL patients, time to reach the core target temperature of 32.5°C was 30 minutes (interquartile range (IQR): 19 to 60), which was significantly faster compare to 150 minutes (IQR: 112 to 240) in controls. The median rate of cooling during the induction phase in the PL group of 4.1°C/h (IQR: 2.2 to 8.2) was significantly faster compared to 0.9°C/h (IQR: 0.5 to 1.3) in controls. During the 24-hour maintenance phase mean core temperature in the PL patients was 32.38 ± 0.18°C (range: 32.03 to 32.69°C) and in control patients 32.46 ± 0.48°C (range: 31.20 to 33.63°C), indicating more steady temperature control in the PL group compared to controls. Furthermore, the coefficient of variation (VC) for temperature during the maintenance phase was lower in the PL group (VC: 0.5%) compared to the control group (VC: 1.5%). In contrast to 23% of the control patients, none of the PL patients showed an overshoot of hypothermia below 31°C during the maintenance phase. Survival and neurological outcome was not different between the two groups. Neither shivering nor complications related to insertion or use of the PL method were observed.


Using PL in post-CA patients results in a rapidly reached target temperature and a very precise maintenance, unprecedented in clinical studies evaluating MTH techniques. This opens the way to investigate the effects on neurological outcome and survival of ultra-rapid cooling compared to standard cooling in controlled trials in various patient groups.

See related letter by Esnault et al., webcite

Trial Registration NCT01016236