[Severe accidental hypothermia: rewarming by total cardiopulmonary bypass]

J Cortés, C Galván, J Sierra, A Franco, J Carceller, M Cid
Revista Española de Anestesiología y Reanimación 1994, 41 (2): 109-12
We present a case of a 20-year-old male with a history of habitual drug use who suffered extreme hypothermia (26 degrees C) after several hours' accidental exposure to low ambient temperature. The patient presented in deep coma with recurring ventricular fibrillation that yielded to electrical defibrillation once a central temperature of 27.4 degrees C was reached through internal rewarming with intravenous liquids and gastric lavage with warm water. Because this method was slow, we decided to continue rewarming with extracorporeal circulation through cannulation of the femoral vein and artery. The patient recovered consciousness after three hours, with no neurological secuelae. Emergency room staff have available the means for recognizing hypothermia and a protocol for its management. Extracorporeal circulation is an effective method for internal rewarming and must be used when the patient requires cardiopulmonary resuscitation or presents signs of severe hemodynamic instability.


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