Last reviewed: November 2017
Last updated: November  2017

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • presence of risk factors
  • cold exposure and body temperature <35°C (<95°F)
  • impaired mental state
  • shivering
  • frostbite

Other diagnostic factors

  • tachypnoea, tachycardia, hypertension if mild hypothermia
  • respiratory depression, bradycardia, hypotension if moderate hypothermia
  • coma and apnoea if severe hypothermia
  • cold-induced diuresis

Risk factors

  • general anaesthetic use
  • substance abuse
  • impaired mental status
  • hypothyroidism
  • stroke
  • Parkinson's disease
  • neuroleptic medication
  • beta-blocker medication
  • sedative hypnotic medication
  • homelessness
  • older age
  • infants and young children
  • gram-negative septicaemia

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • core temperature measurement
  • 12-lead ECG
  • FBC
  • serum electrolytes
  • blood glucose
  • ABG
  • coagulation factors
  • CXR
Full details

Treatment algorithm

Contributors

Authors VIEW ALL

Emmanuel Atta Agaba

Attending Surgeon

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Montefiore Medical Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Bronx

NY

Disclosures

EAA declares that he has no competing interests.

Rafael Barrera

Director

Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Long Island Jewish Medical Center

New Hyde Park

NY

Disclosures

RB declares that he has no competing interests.

Dr Emmanuel Agaba and Dr Rafael Barrera would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Dr Juan Jose Gilbert. JJG declares that he has no competing interests.

Peer reviewers VIEW ALL

Clinical Professor

Department of Family Medicine

University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill

Assistant Program Director

MAHEC Rural Family Medicine Residency

Hendersonville

NC

Disclosures

WM declares that he has no competing interests.

Honorary Professor

Department of Physiology

University College London

London

UK

Disclosures

JSM declares that he has no competing interests.

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