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Hypothermia 

Hypothermia
Chapter:
Hypothermia
Source:
Acute Care Casebook
Author(s):

S. Terez Malka

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190865412.003.0010

Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 35°C (95°F). Symptoms increase as body temperature decreases. Symptoms can include (from mild to severe): shivering, decreased fine motor dexterity, impairment in judgment, gait instability, decreased mental status, and loss of consciousness. Rapid rewarming is critical. A hypothermic patient should not be considered dead until “they are warm and dead.” This chapter highlights a case of profound hypothermia caused by cold water immersion. The chapter details the case, including the history, physical exam, and treatment. Key management points include the assumption of complicating traumatic injury or medical illness until rewarming is complete; active core rewarming; continuous cardiopulmonary resuscitation until goal core temperature is achieved; understanding that prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation may be necessary; and the recognition of Osborne J waves on the electrocardiogram.

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