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Holy Cross Hospital joins an elite group of hospitals around the world adopting life-saving technology

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Holy Cross Hospital has added a state-of-the-art device to its Emergency Department and Critical Care Units that lowers the body temperature in patients suffering from a variety of traumatic events, including stroke, cardiac arrest and spinal cord injury. By adding the CoolGard 3000(r) intravascular cooling system, Holy Cross Hospital joins an elite group of hospitals around the world that are adopting this life-saving technology.

The CoolGard 3000(r) was recently highlighted in media reports detailing how physicians treating Kevin Everett, a professional football player who suffered a spinal cord injury during a game earlier this season, had used the system to induce and maintain a state of mild hypothermia after Everett was admitted to the hospital. The treating physicians credited the intravascular cooling device for playing a central role in his improved prognosis.

Although it is still an experimental treatment in spinal cord injury, CoolGard 3000(r) has been approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for decreasing body temperature subsequent to stroke and intra-cerebral hemorrhage patients since 2003, as well as before or after cardiac- and neuro- surgeries. Since that time, over 10,000 patients have been treated with this innovative and important technology.

Induced hypothermia has proven to be safe and effective and, in 2005, the American Heart Association recommended that physicians implement it in patients who suffer from cardiac arrest. Other clinical applications where the CoolGard 3000(r) has been used include fever control, intracranial pressure management, acute liver failure and heat stroke.

"Research has consistently shown that therapeutic hypothermia can lessen or prevent neurological damage due to cardiac arrest and subsequent oxygen loss to the brain," said Mark Caputo, MD, Medical Director of Emergency Medicine at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. "The intravascular approach allows us to regulate body temperature to a degree of precision we've never seen before."

The CoolGard 3000(r) induces a state of mild hypothermia using an "inside-out" approach A heat exchange catheter, which is a long, thin, soft tube with small balloons surrounding it, is inserted through a vein at the top of the leg. The physician gently guides the catheter over a wire to its resting place below the heart. This catheter is then connected to the CoolGard 3000(r) system, which sends ice-cold saline solution inside the balloons. The patient's blood is cooled as it passes by the balloons, which leads to overall cooling of the entire body. Since the saline flows inside the catheter and is re-circulated into the CoolGard 3000(r), no fluid is infused into the patient and no blood leaves the body. After a period of therapeutic hypothermia, typically 12-24 hours, the system slowly and gently re-warms the patient back to normal body temperature.

Physicians at Holy Cross believe this approach is superior to the obsolete, "outside-in" approach - ice packs, cooling blankets and gel pads - which are imprecise, less effective than the intravascular approach, and tend to be uncomfortable for patients.

"We owe it to our community to provide the best tools for improving outcomes for patients suffering from traumatic events," added Dr. Caputo. "After careful review of our capabilities, we decided that we would not be providing the best care to patients without adding this proven technology to our ICU. We hope other hospitals follow our lead and adopt intravascular cooling technology so that everyone can gain rapid access if they ever need it."

The CoolGard 3000(r) Temperature Management System is manufactured and marketed by Irvine, California-based Alsius Corporation, a medical device company that develops products to precisely control patient temperature for critically ill and surgical patients

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