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Hypothermia Assessment for Rescuers

Assessing the level of hypothermia in cold stressed patients is incredibly important for rescuers.

Two key issues make this relevant;

Firstly, severely hypothermic patients are at a high risk of developing a cardiac arrest (ventricular fibrillation) if not handled carefully, a condition known as ‘circum rescue collapse’ (Zafren et al, 2014).

Secondly, the lack of thermo genetic effort in moderate and severe categories of hypothermia mean that passive re-warming alone is inadequate, and more active re-warming techniques will be required (Epstein and Anna, 2006).

At Nomad we find the “Swiss Staging” model for hypothermia particularly useful as it uses clinical symptoms to estimate the patient’s core temperature without the use of a thermometer. This is useful for rescuers who are unable to obtain an accurate thermometer reading due to situational demands or the fallibility of equipment.

Pasquier, M., Carron, P.N., Rodrigues, A., Dami, F., Frochaux, V., Sartori, C., Deslarzes, T. and Rousson, V., 2019. An evaluation of the Swiss staging model for hypothermia using hospital cases and case reports from the literature. Scandinavian journal of trauma, resuscitation and emergency medicine, 27(1), p.60.

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