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Anaesthesist. 2018 Dec;67(12):931-935. doi: 10.1007/s00101-018-0508-4. Epub 2018 Oct 30.

Misleading symptoms and successful noninvasive rewarming of a patient with severe hypothermia (23.1 °C).

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesiology, Ludwig Maximilian University Hospital, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377, Munich, Germany. Tobias.Woehrle@med.uni-muenchen.de.
2
Department of Internal Medicine IV, Ludwig Maximilian University Hospital, Munich, Germany.
3
Department of Anesthesiology, Ludwig Maximilian University Hospital, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377, Munich, Germany.
4
Department of Internal Medicine I, Ludwig Maximilian University Hospital, Munich, Germany.

Abstract

Accidental severe hypothermia is a medical emergency in which symptoms may include coma, apnea, pulmonary edema, ventricular dysrhythmia or asystole. Despite optimal treatment, mortality remains high. This article reports a case of severe hypothermia in a geriatric hypothyroid patient, where despite a body core temperature of 23.1 °C the patient presented conscious and with stable vital signs, pronounced motor response, and a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 9. Blood gas analysis (alpha stat at 37 °C) indicated sufficient pulmonary function. A noninvasive rewarming approach proved successful and resulted in discharge without sequelae. This case highlights that symptoms considered pathognomonic for specific stages of hypothermia should be interpreted with great care in clinical practice. Hypothyroidism may have contributed to this uncommon clinical presentation. Body temperature needs to be taken into account when interpreting blood gas analyses. Even at the stage of severe hypothermia, noninvasive forced-air warming enabled rewarming without complications.

KEYWORDS:

Afterdrop; Forced-air warming; Hypothyroidism; Myxoedema coma; Swiss staging system

PMID:
30377738
DOI:
10.1007/s00101-018-0508-4

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