Transpulmonary hypothermia: A novel method of rapid brain cooling through augmented heat extraction from the lungs

Matthew M. Kumar, Andrew D. Goldberg, Markos Kashiouris, Lawrence R. Keenan, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Bekele Afessa, Larry D. Johnson, John L.D. Atkinson, Vedha Nayagam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aim: Delay in instituting neuroprotective measures after cardiac arrest increases death and decreases neuronal recovery. Current hypothermia methods are slow, ineffective, unreliable, or highly invasive. We report the feasibility of rapid hypothermia induction in swine through augmented heat extraction from the lungs. Methods: Twenty-four domestic crossbred pigs (weight, 50-55. kg) were ventilated with room air. Intraparenchymal brain temperature and core temperatures from pulmonary artery, lower esophagus, bladder, rectum, nasopharynx, and tympanum were recorded. In eight animals, ventilation was switched to cooled helium-oxygen mixture (heliox) and perfluorocarbon (PFC) aerosol and continued for 90. min or until target brain temperature of 32. °C was reached. Eight animals received body-surface cooling with water-circulating blankets; eight control animals continued to be ventilated with room air. Results: Brain and core temperatures declined rapidly with cooled heliox-PFC ventilation. The brain reached target temperature within the study period (mean [SD], 66 [7.6]. min) in only the transpulmonary cooling group. Cardiopulmonary functions and poststudy histopathological examination of the lungs were normal. Conclusion: Transpulmonary cooling is novel, rapid, minimally invasive, and an effective technique to induce therapeutic hypothermia. High thermal conductivity of helium and vaporization of PFC produces rapid cooling of alveolar gases. The thinness and large surface area of alveolar membrane facilitate rapid cooling of the pulmonary circulation. Because of differences in thermogenesis, blood flow, insulation, and exposure to the external environment, the brain cools at a different rate than other organs. Transpulmonary hypothermia was significantly faster than body surface cooling in reaching target brain temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1410
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Heliox ventilation
  • Induced hypothermia
  • Neuroprotection
  • Perfluorocarbon
  • Transpulmonary hypothermia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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