Severe Hypothermia Management in Mountain Rescue – A Survey Study
MetadataShow full item record
Podsiadło, Paweł, Tomasz Darocha, Sylweriusz Kosiński, Kinga Sałapa, Mirosław Ziętkiewicz, Tomasz Sanak, Rachel Turner, and Hermann Brugger. Severe hypothermia management in mountain rescue: A survey study. High Alt Med Biol 18:411–416, 2017. Introduction: Severe hypothermia is a rare but demanding medical emergency. Although mortality is high, if well managed, the neurological outcome of survivors can be excellent. The aim of the study was to assess whether mountain rescue teams (MRTs) are able to meet the guidelines in the management of severe hypothermia, regarding their equipment and procedures. Methods: Between August and December 2016, an online questionnaire, with 24 questions to be completed using Google Forms, was sent to 123 MRTs in 27 countries. Results: Twenty-eight MRTs from 10 countries returned the completed questionnaire. Seventy-five percent of MRTs reportedly provide advanced life support (ALS) on-site and 89% are regularly trained in hypothermia management. Thirty-two percent of MRTs transport hypothermic patients in cardiac arrest to the nearest hospital instead of an Extracorporeal Life Support facility; 39% are equipped with mechanical chest compression devices; 36% measure core body temperature on-site and no MRT is equipped with a device to measure serum potassium concentration on-site in avalanche victims. Conclusions: Most MRTs are regularly trained in the treatment of severe hypothermia and provide ALS. The majority are not equipped to follow standard procedural guidelines for the treatment of severely hypothermic patients, especially with cardiac arrest. However, the low response rate—23% (28/123)—could have induced a bias.