Prehospital cooling with hypothermia caps (PreCoCa): a feasibility study

  • Christian Storm
  • Joerg C. Schefold
  • Thoralf Kerner
  • Willi Schmidbauer
  • Jola Gloza
  • Anne Krueger
  • Achim Jörres
  • Dietrich Hasper



Animal studies suggest that the induction of therapeutic hypothermia in patients after cardiac arrest should be initiated as soon as possible after ROSC to achieve optimal neuroprotective benefit. A “gold standard” for the method of inducing hypothermia quickly and safely has not yet been established. In order to evaluate the feasibility of a hypothermia cap we conducted a study for the prehospital setting.

Methods and results

The hypothermia cap was applied to 20 patients after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with a median of 10 min after ROSC (25/75 IQR 8–15 min). The median time interval between initiation of cooling and hospital admission was 28 min (19–40 min). The median tympanic temperature before application of the hypothermia cap was 35.5°C (34.8–36.3). Until hospital admission we observed a drop of tympanic temperature to a median of 34.4°C (33.6–35.4). This difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001). We could not observe any side effects related to the hypothermia cap. 25 patients who had not received prehospital cooling procedures served as a control group. Temperature at hospital admission was 35.9°C (35.3–36.4). This was statistically significant different compared to patients treated with the hypothermia cap (P < 0.001).


In summary we demonstrated that the prehospital use of hypothermia caps is a safe and effective procedure to start therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest. This approach is rapidly available, inexpensive, non-invasive, easy to learn and applicable in almost any situation.


cardiac arrest therapeutic hypothermia prehospital cooling hypothermia cap 



We would like to thank the engaged contribution of the ambulance staff from the Notarztwagen 2505 and 1305. The Hypothermia Caps were provided from Southwest Technologies USA via Lievens-Lanckman BVBA, Belgium. There were no other financial relationships.

Conflict of interest The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Criteria for authorship DH, CS and JCS designed and supervised the study from data acquisition to data analysis. WS, TK and JG participated in the design of the study. AK and AJ revised the manuscript for important intellectual content and helped draft the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Storm
    • 1
  • Joerg C. Schefold
    • 1
  • Thoralf Kerner
    • 2
  • Willi Schmidbauer
    • 3
  • Jola Gloza
    • 1
  • Anne Krueger
    • 1
  • Achim Jörres
    • 1
  • Dietrich Hasper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nephrology and Medical, Intensive Care MedicineCharité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow-KlinikumBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care MedicineCharite Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow-KlinikumBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Department of AnaesthesiologyBundeswehrkrankenhaus BerlinBerlinGermany

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