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Ann Fr Anesth Reanim. 2006 May;25(5):535-8. Epub 2006 Mar 3.

[Resuscitation from accidental hypothermia of 22 degrees C with circulatory arrest: importance of prehospital management].

[Article in French]

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Service d'anesthésie cardiovasculaire, département d'anesthésie-réanimation-II, CHU de Grenoble, hôpital Michallon, BP 207, 38043 Grenoble cedex 09, France.


In winter, French Medicalised Ambulance Service rescued a 50-year-old patient after suicide attempts by jump from a bridge in the Seine. The body was discovered after more than 10 minutes of immersion. She was unconscious and in deep hypothermia with circulatory arrest. Basic CPR was started immediately and oral intubation and 100% oxygen ventilation was performed. Ventricular fibrillation appeared but repeated defibrillation failed due to profound hypothermia (rectal temperature: 28 degrees C). The patient was immediately transported to hospital. CPR and mechanical ventilation was continued during transport. The patient was taken in emergency room. The oesophageal temperature was 22 degrees C. Rewarming using extracorporeal circulation was immediately initiated after insertion of femoral access. At 27 degrees C, ventricular fibrillation started and was converted by external defibrillation to a pulse-generating cardiac rhythm. At 360 minutes, the patient's rectal temperature had reached 36 degrees C and she was disconnected from cardiopulmonary bypass with inotropic support. She was transferred to the intensive care unit after 9 hours of resuscitation, rewarming and stabilisation. Mechanical ventilation was needed for 15 days because of adult respiratory distress syndrome. Renal failure, pneumonia also occurred. She was successfully extubated on day 15 and was discharged from intensive care unit on day 21, suffering no neurological side effects.

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