Mild hypothermia increases survival from severe pressure-controlled hemorrhagic shock in rats

Stephan Prueckner, Peter Safar, Rainer Kentner, Jason Stezoski, Samuel A. Tisherman

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Background: In previous studies, mild hypothermia (34°C) during uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock (HS) increased survival. Hypothermia also increased mean arterial pressure (MAP), which may have contributed to its beneficial effect. We hypothesized that hypothermia would improve survival in a pressure-controlled HS model and that prolonged hypothermia would further improve survival. Methods: Thirty rats were prepared under light nitrous oxide/halothane anesthesia with spontaneous breathing. The rats underwent HS with an initial blood withdrawal of 2 mL/100 g over 10 minutes and pressure-controlled HS at a MAP of 40 mm Hg over 90 minutes (without anticoagulation), followed by return of shed blood and additional lactated Ringer's solution to achieve normotension. Hemodynamic monitoring and anesthesia were continued to I hour, temperature control to 12 hours, and observation without anesthesia to 72 hours. After HS of 15 minutes, 10 rats each were randomized to group 1, with normothermia (38°C) throughout; group 2, with brief mild hypothermia (34°C during HS 15-90 minutes plus 30 minutes after reperfusion); and group 3, with prolonged mild hypothermia (same as group 2, then 35°C [possible without shivering] from 30 minutes after reperfusion to 12 hours). Results: MAP during HS and initial resuscitation was the same in all three groups, but was higher in the hypothermia groups 2 and 3, compared with the normothermia group 1, at 45 and 60 minutes after reperfusion. Group 1 required less blood withdrawal to maintain MAP 40 mm Hg during HS and more lactated Ringer's solution for resuscitation. At end of HS, lactate levels were higher in group 1 than in groups 2 and 3 (p < 0.02). Temperatures were according to protocol. Survival to 72 hours was achieved in group 1 by 3 of 10 rats, in group 2 by 7 of 10 rats (p = 0.18 vs. group 1), and in group 3 by 9 of 10 rats (p = 0.02 vs. group 1,p = 0.58 vs. group 2). Survival time was longer in group 2 (p = 0.09) and group 3 (p = 0.007) compared with group 1. Conclusion: Brief hypothermia had physiologic benefit and a trend toward improved survival. Prolonged mild hypothermia significantly increased survival after severe HS even with controlled MAP. Extending the duration of hypothermia beyond the acute phases of shock and resuscitation may be needed to ensure improved outcome after prolonged HS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Fluid resuscitation
  • Hemorrhage
  • Hemorrhagic shock
  • Hypotension
  • Hypothermia
  • Outcome
  • Rat model
  • Survival


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