Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Coming out of the Cold

15.11.2012
A new medical algorithm for treating accidental hypothermia could mean the difference between life and death.
When rescue teams arrive on the scene, they must make snap decisions on how to treat the patient as well as the evacuation plan. Before now, there were no comprehensive guidelines on how to make these decisions. Thanks to a new paper to be published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors will be able to respond with more confidence, and save more lives.

A paper to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine will provide clarity on the management and treatment of accidental hypothermia victims. Co-authored by Douglas J.A. Brown, Hermann Brugger, Jeff Boyd and Peter Paal, the paper provides a review of current knowledge of accidental hypothermia, along with a medical algorithm to help emergency medics make rapid on-site decisions.

Accidental hypothermia is an involuntary drop in core body temperature below 35°C (normal core body temperature is 37°C). Although a significant number of deaths related to accidental hypothermia occur annually around the world, there is ambiguity in how to properly transport and treat patients affected by the condition.

“Certain treatment approaches are available only in specialized centers,” the authors write, “and clarification is needed regarding the choice between transporting a patient to a specialized center and providing treatment locally. Existing recommendations do not include recent developments in rewarming methods nor do they assist with decisions regarding transportation.” To fill these kinds of knowledge gaps, the paper includes sections on diagnosis, pre-hospital and hospital treatments, transport protocols and re-warming techniques, providing for the first time clear recommendation for best practices.

The paper outlines clear steps on determining the patient’s condition. If the victim is stable, the paper then suggests the correct transportation procedure to a hospital where the hypothermia symptoms can be treated with minimal invasive techniques, often just an electric blanket. If the victim’s condition is unstable, transportation to a specialised center with techniques of rewarming such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) or cardiopulmonary bypass becomes necessary.

Formerly, the abdominal or chest cavity hypothermia had to be opened to warm patients from the inside. The paper suggests that this very invasive technique yields a lower success rate (~10% survival rate) than more modern techniques of invasive rewarming such as ECMO or cardiopulmonary bypass (~50% survival).

Significant to the paper is a new medical algorithm that can help medical personnel arriving on the scene to make faster first-response decisions. Frequently working under the threat of avalanche or inclement weather, alpine doctors are confronted with the choice to transport the victim to an emergency clinic or treat the patient on site, potentially putting their own life and that of the patient in danger. Assessing the patient’s prognosis based on criteria such as length of time buried under the snow and the condition of the patient’s air passages is therefore crucial to deciding if resuscitation is warranted. The algorithm guides the medic through a multi-tiered decision-making process that could not only improve a victim’s chance of survival, but could also help save the lives of the rescue team members.

The quartet of authors feels confident that their work will help to increase survival rates for accidental hypothermia victims in mountain regions, in which their research is focussed, but the knowledge available in the document is replicable in a variety of accidental hypothermia situations worldwide, including trauma and near-drowning.

Laura Defranceschi | idw
Further information:
http://www.eurac.edu
http://www.nejm.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
28.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care

nachricht Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>