Rewarming for accidental hypothermia in an urban medical center using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
David Morley, Kentaro Yamane, Rika O'Malley, Nicholas C. Cavarocchi, Hitoshi Hirose
Am J Case Rep 2013; 14:6-9
Background: Accidental hypothermia complicated by cardiac arrest carries a high mortality rate in urban areas. For moderate hypothermia cases conventional rewarming methods are usually adequate, however in severe cases extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is known to provide the most efficient rewarming with complete cardiopulmonary support. We report a case of severe hypothermia complicated by prolonged cardiac arrest successfully resuscitated using ECMO.
Case Report: A 45 year old female was brought to our emergency department with a core body temperature <25°C. Shortly after arrival she had witnessed cardiac arrest in the department. Resuscitative efforts were started immediately including conventional rewarming techniques, followed by ECMO support. ECMO was used successfully in this case to resuscitate this patient from prolonged arrest (3.5 hours) when conventional techniques likely would have failed. After a prolonged hospital course this patient was discharged with her baseline mental and physical capacities intact.
Conclusions: This case demonstrates the advantages of advanced internal rewarming techniques, such as ECMO, for quick and efficient rewarming of severely hypothermic patients. This case supports the use of ECMO in severely hypothermic patients as the standard of care.
Keywords: Hypothermia, cardiac arrest, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, rewarming