Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Wilderness Environ Med. 2001 Winter;12(4):232-5.

The electrocardiogram in hypothermia.

Author information

1
Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom. ColinGraham@bigfoot.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Hypothermia is known to adversely affect the electrocardiogram (ECG) in many cases. This study set out to determine the incidence of defined cardiac dysrhythmias, J waves, and conduction abnormalities in urban hypothermia.

METHODS:

A prospective, multicenter study was carried out to determine the incidence of defined cardiac rhythms in patients suffering from accidental urban hypothermia. The ECGs were independently analyzed by 2 of the authors and placed into 1 of 6 rhythm categories.

RESULTS:

Seventy-three ECGs were analyzed. Normal sinus rhythm was the most common rhythm (41%). Overall mortality was 36% (26/73). J waves occurred in 36% of survivors and 38% of non-survivors and were, therefore, not prognostic. Shivering artifact was present in 66% of survivors and 38% of nonsurvivors. Although there was no statistically significant association between J waves and survival (P = .21), the presence of shivering artifact was associated with survival in severe hypothermia (P = .047). Atrial fibrillation and junctional bradycardia were both associated with high mortality.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study confirms that the ECG is abnormal in the majority of patients suffering from accidental hypothermia. J waves do not appear to be independently prognostic in hypothermia. The results suggest that the inability to mount a shivering response may be associated with a poorer outcome; this finding requires further study.

PMID:
11769917
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center