Case of Severe Accidental Hypothermia Cardiac Arrest in a Subtropical Climate and Review of Management. Academic Article uri icon


  • A patient was brought to the hospital with severe accidental hypothermia due to cold exposure associated with acute alcohol intoxication. Initial bladder core temperature was 21C (70F). The patient was agitated and combative with altered mental status and suffered rescue collapse during transport. Initial rhythm was ventricular fibrillation and we initiated a standard advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) protocol with rewarming measures. The patient received 28 mg of epinephrine and 13 shocks. Active and passive rewarming were initiated without extracorporeal rewarming. The patient achieved return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) at a core temperature of 23.8C (74.8F). Patient was discharged 15 days later neurologically intact with no organ damage. The clinical management and implications for further research in severe accidental hypothermia management are discussed. In patients with severe accidental hypothermia (defined as <30C or <86F) in cardiac arrest, the optimal rewarming technique, use of epinephrine, and time when defibrillation should be attempted remain controversial. In our patient, the patient achieved ROSC in less than 2 hours with standard ACLS procedures despite a minimal increase in core temperature (21C to 23.8C or 70F to 73.9F).

published proceedings

  • Open Access Emerg Med

author list (cited authors)

  • Chau, T., Joseph, M., Ledesma, J., & Hsu, D.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Chau, Terence||Joseph, Merlyn||Ledesma, Jesus||Hsu, David Wei Hau

publication date

  • January 2020