Accidental deep hypothermia with cardiac arrest. Prompt complete recovery after rewarming by extracorporeal circulation. Case report

Martin Simek, Roman Hajek, Vilem Bruk, Karolina Fabikova, Petr Nemec, Jakub Raimr, Roman Husar, Petr Hubacek
Biomedical Papers of the Medical Faculty of the University Palacký, Olomouc, Czechoslovakia 2007, 151 (1): 95-7

BACKGROUND: Deep accidental hypothermia (core temperature <28 degrees C) is an uncommon medical emergency requiring rapid active core rewarming. Extracorporeal circulation has become the treatment of choice for deep hypothermic patients with cardiac arrest.

CASE REPORT: We report on a 30-year-old patient who suffered from deep accidental hypothermia (core temperature 24.8 degrees C) and cardiac arrest by prolonged exposure to a cold urban environment as a consequence of severe ethylalcohol intoxication. The rewarming with the aid of extracorporeal circulation was initiated shortly after his arrival at the hospital. External cardiac massage was maintained until full ECC fl ow was established. The patient was weaned from extracorporeal circulation after 157 min, awaked 4 hours later and consequently extubated within 16 hours after rewarming with no neurological impairment. At 3-week follow-up, the patient was fully re-integrated in his work and personal life.

CONCLUSION: This case demonstrates the excellent prognosis of a young victim in the case of deep accidental hypothermia with cardiac arrest, provided that deep hypothermia precedes the cardiac arrest and rewarming by extracorporeal circulation is immediately applied. Simultaneous ethyl alcohol intoxication can be considered a protective factor improving the patient's outcome. Complete recovery was achieved within 24 hours after the accident.


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