Cardiopulmonary arrest (when the heart stops beating) is a tragic event in children that is associated with high rates of death and long term disability.
In children, this can occur in the hospital as a complication of many different medical conditions; cardiac arrest can also occur, suddenly, outside of the hospital as a result of an accident such as near drowning or a sudden illness. There is a great need for better treatments for children resuscitated after cardiac arrest in each setting to improve ultimate quality of life and to prevent long term brain injury or death.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is funding the first large scale, multi-center study to help determine the best treatment for children who are successfully resuscitated after a cardiac arrest.
The study, entitled “Therapeutic Hypothermia after Pediatric Cardiac Arrest (THAPCA)”, will evaluate whether regulating the body temperature will improve the outcome for children after cardiac arrest. There is a separate study for children who arrest in the hospital (THAPCA-IH) and children who arrest out of the hospital (THAPCA-OH). The goal of these two trials is:
- to determine if therapeutic hypothermia improves survival with good neurobehavioral outcome in children who have had a cardiac arrest.
The THAPCA Trials investigative team has worked collaboratively since 2002 bringing together two federally funded pediatric clinical research networks to study this problem. These two networks are the:
- Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), funded by the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program and
- the NICHD Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network (CPCCRN).