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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Case of Severe Accidental Hypothermia Successfully Treated with Cardiopulmonary Bypass


After missing for 7 days a 34 year-old female was found with a rectal temperature of 19.8oC.  Instead of attempting aggressive rewarming in the emergency department she was directly transferred to the operating room for extracorporeal rewarming. She received cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) for 66 minutes at an initial warming rate of 12oC/ hour and warmed to 36.2oC. Her post-op course was complicated by sepsis, which eventually led to bilateral below-knee amputations after refusing antibiotics. She was discharged 22 days after admission, with full neurologic recovery. This remarkable case highlights the emerging role of CPB as the definitive therapy for severe accidental hypothermia.

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