RESEARCH: South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust is evaluating a system that directly cools cardiac arrest patients’ brains prior to their arrival at hospital.

The evaluation, being jointly conducted with Royal Sussex County Hospital, will see some patients administered a nasal spray that rapidly reduces the brain’s temperature.

The RhinoChill IntraNasal Cooling System uses an evaporating coolant liquid that is sprayed into the patient’s nasal cavity from the start of treatment until the patient is transferred to intensive care.

The system will be tested on a total of 25 cardiac arrest patients. So far, four patients have been involved in the evaluation, which is expected to take around six months.

It is widely believed that cooling the brain following cardiac arrest can improve survival chances and also minimise any long-term neurological damage.

The evaluation will assess ease of use in an ambulance environment, time taken to reduce brain temperature to the optimal range of 32-24 degrees, number of days the patient spends in intensive care, percentage of patients surviving to discharge and their neurological status.

Dr Rob Galloway, A&E consultant at Royal Sussex County Hospital, said: “It’s an excellent example of two separate NHS organisations co-operating to streamline a vital process of patient management, thereby improving patient care.”