Outline the physiological consequences of therapeutic hypothermia at 32 degrees Celsius

[Click here to toggle visibility of the answers]

College Answer

It is well documented and often stressed that the Primary Exam is focused upon the basic 
sciences that underpin clinical Intensive Care. It will examine a candidates understanding of, 
for example, the physiology associated with a clinical circumstance. Many candidates 
discussed why we use therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest rather than outline the 
physiological consequences of hypothermia at 32 degrees Celsius, for which they would not 
have scored any marks. A good answer was expected to outline changes in metabolism as 
well as specific organ responses such as cardiovascular (e.g. bradycardia; vasoconstriction;
decreased cardiac output, etc), respiratory (decreased minute volume; haemoglobin-oxygen 
dissociation curve moves left; increased anatomical dead space; diminished HPV; increased 
pulmonary vascular resistance, etc), renal (e.g. diuresis, changes to GFR, etc) as well as other 
organs. Again candidates failed to synthesize a coherent and detailed answer.