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First Hospital in Florida to Use Thermosuit® for Heart Attack Patients

September 17, 2009

Osceola Regional Medical Center First Hospital in Florida to Use Thermosuit® for Heart Attack Patients

Kissimmee, FL - As Emergency Department Medical Director for Osceola Regional Medical Center, Brian Baxter, MD, FACEP, doesn’t mind giving heart attack patients an icy reception—if it means improving their chances of a full recovery. Dr. Baxter is enthusiastic about the Center’s new ThermoSuit® System, introduced in August of this year. “The ThermoSuit allows us to advance the standard of care for cardiac arrest patients who have spontaneous return of circulation and to reduce their neurological impairment,” he said. The technology is used only with patients who have been successfully resuscitated after their heart has stopped.

When a cardiac arrest patient arrives at Osceola Regional, the hospital initiates an ICE Alert. If deemed appropriate, the patient is placed in the ThermoSuit, a non-invasive, portable cooling system that resembles a plastic raft. The FDA-approved device drops the body’s core temperature to between 32 and 34 degrees Celsius within 10 to 30 minutes.

Once inside the suit, the patient is covered with a sheet and the system continuously pumps a thin film of ice around the patient’s body. While this is happening, “A probe is placed in the patient's esophagus to measure their core temperature. The device stops cooling at a certain temperature to prevent the patient from becoming too hypothermic. We then monitor the patient's temperature for the next 24 hours as well as all of their other vitals,” explained Dr. Baxter.

This rapid cooling improves recovery by minimizing brain and tissue damage. “There is substantial research demonstrating that when a patient survives cardiac arrest, neurological recovery can be significantly improved by decreasing the body temperature and maintaining a reduced temperature for 24 hours,” Dr. Baxter said. Once cooling is completed, the ThermoSuit is removed and the patient may receive additional treatments such as stents or angioplasty.

Before launching the ThermoSuit program, Osceola Regional staff members underwent specialized training. The hospital also collaborated with emergency medical service agencies in Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Osceola County to ensure a smooth transition between emergency transport and the Medical Center. “Once a cardiac patient has been resuscitated, we can immediately begin the cooling process,” Dr. Baxter commented.

Many hospitals use other cooling methods, but these have drawbacks. For example, external cooling techniques such as ice packs and cooling blankets, take hours to decrease body temperature. In the meantime, brain cells and neurons are lost, dramatically diminishing a patient’s chances of returning to normal. And invasive cooling methods, such as endovascular cooling catheters and cold saline, tend to have complications.

In the short time since Osceola Regional launched the program, the results have been positive. According to Dr. Baxter, “Two of the three ThermoSuit patients have had full recovery after cardiac arrest and another is improving.”

Currently, Osceola Regional is the only hospital in Florida using this technology. “ThermoSuit is the new standard of care for cardiac arrest patients. It fits with Osceola Regional and the Central Florida Cardiac & Vascular Institute,” Dr. Baxter noted.

About Osceola Regional Medical Center:
Osceola Regional Medical Center is a state-of-the-art hospital offering services which include: a 24-hour Emergency Department; 24-hour Obstetrician (OB) Coverage/Baby Suites Maternity Unit; Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Pediatrics; Accredited Chest Pain Center; Certified Primary Stroke Center; Orthopedic and Spine Center; Wound Healing Center; and the Kissimmee Physical Therapy Center. Also included are complete diagnostic, imaging and testing services in the Osceola Imaging Center and the Breast Care Center. The hospital features a premier multi-million dollar, four-story cardiac care tower housing the Central Florida Cardiac & Vascular Institute. The Institute offers advanced comprehensive cardiac care from diagnostics and treatment, including open-heart and vascular surgery to cardiac rehabilitation. Many of the Institute’s surgeons specialize in minimally invasive heart valve surgeries. Visit www.HeartHappensHere.com for more information.

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