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Karolinska University Hospital Initiates Study for New Treatment in Cardiac Arrest

Early cooling of patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest is hoped to increase the chances of survival and promote better recovery. This is the expectation of researchers at Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet who are leading a new international study.
Photo: Carin Tellström.

The international study, Princess2, begins today in the Stockholm Region and will include approximately 1,000 patients. Researchers are investigating a new treatment method for patients who have experienced a cardiac arrest. By using early cooling, which starts at the scene of the cardiac arrest, they hope to provide better protection for the patient's brain and heart. The goal is to improve survival rates and enhance the prospects for complete recovery. The treatment can begin in the patient's home and then continue in the ambulance with the help of a portable cooling method. Cooling then proceeds in the intensive care unit upon arrival at the hospital.

"Our goal is to develop new and highly specialized methods for the most critically ill patients. We want more patients to have access to specialized care and be able to return to the same activities as before their cardiac arrest through what is known as complete neurological recovery. This could represent a significant gain for patients, their families, and society," says Andreas Liliequist, head of the Thoracic Intensive Care Unit at Karolinska University Hospital.

The patients who will participate in the study are those most critically affected by heart conditions. These are patients with, for example, ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest, as well as patients with subsequent cardiogenic shock who require mechanical heart support, known as ECMO.

"Being able to provide highly specialized care to the most critically ill patients at the scene of the cardiac arrest is a prerequisite for the success of such a study," says Henrik Jörnvall, chief physician at Karolinska University Hospital and medical director for one of the emergency medical cars within the Stockholm Region.

The study will be conducted in approximately 20 European study centers, including Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Belgium.

"I am proud to lead an operation that has truly taken the driver's seat in this important international study," says Håkon Haugaa, head of Intensive Care and Thoracic Surgery at Karolinska University Hospital.

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