The Nature and Treatment of Hypothermia
Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, occurs both in accidental situations (exposure to cold) and in relation to such medical disorders as cardiac disease, diabetes, coma, insulin shock, drunkenness, and certain conditions in the very young and the very old. The hypothermic individual is unable to regulate body temperature, which can drop in accidental hypothermia as low as 27 degrees centigrade (80 degrees fahrenheit). Medical risk is increased by heat loss, and if the victim already suffers from disease, from a body circulation impairment--often true in the elderly--or from a physical impairment like drunkenness, the vulnerability to cold illness often increases.
The 18 papers in this book, prepared for a Continuing Medical Education conference at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Medical School, provide state of the art information on the diagnosis, physiology, and treatment of hypothermia. Since severe hypothermia is a major medical emergency and the victim is often found far from shelter, this book devotes primary attention to emergency and in-hospital procedures for rewarming the body, starting an arrested heart, dealing with shock, and treating cold damage to the body. Yet its comprehensive approach--its emphasis upon physiology as well as treatment--will make it a useful book for research scientists and students of medicine and human physiology as well as for physicians.
The contributors to this volume are clinical and research scientists from Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. Editors Robert Pozos and Lorentz E. Wittmers, Jr., are associate professors in the department of physiology, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota-Duluth.