In reality, however, if a patient responds to initial care and his heart is restarted, a sudden rush of blood and too much oxygen to the brain could actually worsen the neurological damage. Instead, moderating the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain may be crucial in resuscitation.
The idea of cooling the body after cardiac arrest has been around for a few decades, but scientists were not certain if it truly was beneficial to patients.
In recent years, however, studies have provided evidence that hypothermia improves patient's survival and recovery, and professional societies such as the American Heart Association recommend considering hypothermia after patient's blood circulation is restored.
Nevertheless, not all hospitals have implemented hypothermia as part of their critical care protocol.
"What is sad is that this knowledge out there, the system is available but is not implemented," Parnia said. Less than 10 percent of people in the United States who might benefit from cooling therapy actually receive it, he said.