Mild hypothermia as a protective therapy during intracranial aneurysm surgery: A randomized prospective pilot trial

Bradley J. Hindman, Michael M. Todd, Adrian W. Gelb, Christopher M. Loftus, Rosemary A. Craen, Armin Schubert, Michael E. Mahla, James C. Torner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To conduct a pilot trial of mild intraoperative hypothermia during cerebral aneurysm surgery. METHODS: One hundred fourteen patients undergoing cerebral aneurysm clipping with (n = 52) (World Federation of Neurological Surgeons score ≤III) and without (n = 62) acute aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) were randomized to normothermic (target esophageal temperature at clip application of 36.5°C) and hypothermic (target temperature of 33.5°C) groups. Neurological status was prospectively evaluated before surgery, 24 and 72 hours postoperatively (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale), and 3 to 6 months after surgery (Glasgow Outcome Scale). Secondary outcomes included postoperative critical care requirements, respiratory and cardiovascular complications, duration of hospitalization, and discharge disposition. RESULTS: Seven hypothermic patients (12%) could not be cooled to within 1°C of target temperature; three of the seven were obese. Patients randomized to the hypothermic group more frequently required intubation and rewarming for the first 2 hours after surgery. Although not achieving statistical significance, patients with SAH randomized to the hypothermic group, when compared with patients in the normothermic group, had the following: 1) a lower frequency of neurological deterioration at 24 and 72 hours after surgery (21 versus 37-41%), 2) a greater frequency of discharge to home (75 versus 57%), and 3) a greater incidence of good long-term outcomes (71 versus 57%). For patients without acute SAH, there were no outcome differences between the temperature groups. There was no suggestion that hypothermia was associated with excess morbidity or mortality. CONCLUSION: Mild hypothermia during cerebral aneurysm surgery is feasible in nonobese patients and is well tolerated. Our results indicate that a multicenter trial enrolling 300 to 900 patients with acute aneurysmal SAH will be required to demonstrate a statistically significant benefit with mild intraoperative hypothermia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Aneurysm, cerebral
  • Hypothermia
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage


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