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Can body temperature be maintained during aeromedical transport?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2015

Sunil M. Sookram
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine Capital Health Authority
Samantha Barker
Affiliation:
Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging Capital Health Authority
Karen D. Kelly
Affiliation:
Department of Rural Health, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC
William Patton
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine Capital Health Authority Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS), Edmonton
Terry Sosnowski
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine Capital Health Authority
Kevin Neilson
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine Capital Health Authority Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS), Edmonton
Brian H. Rowe*
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta. Capital Health Authority
*
Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Alberta, 1G1.63 Walter Mackenzie Centre, 8440 — 112 St., Edmonton AB T6G 2B7; 780 407–7047, fax 780 407–3314, brian.rowe@ualberta.ca

Abstract

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Background:

Aeromedical transport in northern areas may be associated with hypothermia. The objective of this study was to determine whether significant hypothermia (core temperature <35ºC) occurs in severely injured or ill intubated patients during transport by rotary wing aircraft.

Methods:

In this prospective cohort study, all intubated patients over 16 years of age who were transported by rotary wing aircraft from rural hospitals or trauma scenes in northern Alberta to regional hospitals in Edmonton were eligible for study. Esophageal thermometers were used to measure core temperature at 10-minute intervals during transport.

Results:

Of 133 potentially eligible patients, 116 were enrolled; 69 (59%) had esophageal thermometers inserted, and 47 (41%) had other temperature measurements. Severe hypothermia occurred in only 1% to 2% of cases, but 28% to 39% of patients met criteria for mild hypothermia prior to transport. Core temperatures did not fall during transport, despite the fact that warming techniques were documented in only 38% of cases.

Conclusions:

During brief (<225 km) rotary wing aeromedical transport of severely injured or ill patients, significant hypothermia is uncommon and body temperature is generally well maintained with the use of simple passive measures. These findings do not justify recommendations for more aggressive core temperature monitoring during this type of aeromedical transport.

Type
EM Advances • Progrès de la MU
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians 2002

References

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