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Hypothermia in Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake: A Survey in Miyagi Prefecture

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2014

Hajime Furukawa*
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Tohoku, Japan
Daisuke Kudo
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Tohoku, Japan Division of Emergency Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine; Tohoku, Japan
Atsuhiro Nakagawa
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Tohoku, Japan Department of Neurosurgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine; Tohoku, Japan
Takashi Matsumura
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Tohoku, Japan
Yoshiko Abe
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Tohoku, Japan
Ryota Konishi
Affiliation:
Department of General Internal Medicine, Kanto Rosai Hospital, Kawasaki City, Ishinomaki, Japan
Satoshi Yamanouchi
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Tohoku, Japan Division of Emergency Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine; Tohoku, Japan
Satoru Ishibashi
Affiliation:
Emergency Center, Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital, Ishinomaki, Japan
Masakazu Kobayashi
Affiliation:
Emergency Center, Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital, Ishinomaki, Japan
Norio Narita
Affiliation:
Department of Neurosurgery, Kesennuma City Hospital, Kesennuma, Japan
Toshikatsu Washio
Affiliation:
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Tatsuhiko Arafune
Affiliation:
School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Denki University, Tokyo, Japan.
Teiji Tominaga
Affiliation:
Department of Neurosurgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine; Tohoku, Japan
Shigeki Kushimoto
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Tohoku, Japan Department of Neurosurgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine; Tohoku, Japan
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Hajime Furukawa, MD, Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, 1-1 Seiryo-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, JAPAN (e-mail: fhajime@ac.auone-net.jp).

Abstract

Objective

A survey was conducted to describe the characteristics of patients treated for hypothermia after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Methods

Written questionnaires were distributed to 72 emergency medical hospitals in Miyagi Prefecture. Data were requested regarding inpatients with a temperature less than 36ºC admitted within 72 hours after the earthquake. The availability of functional heating systems and the time required to restore heating after the earthquake were also documented.

Results

A total of 91 inpatients from 13 hospitals were identified. Tsunami victims comprised 73% of the patients with hypothermia. Within 24 hours of the earthquake, 66 patients were admitted. Most patients with a temperature of 32ºC or higher were treated with passive external rewarming with blankets. Discharge without sequelae was reported for 83.3% of patients admitted within 24 hours of the earthquake and 44.0% of those admitted from 24 to 72 hours after the earthquake. Heating systems were restored within 3 days of the earthquake at 43% of the hospitals.

Conclusions

Hypothermia in patients hospitalized within 72 hours of the earthquake was primarily due to cold-water exposure during the tsunami. Many patients were successfully treated in spite of the post-earthquake disruption of regional social infrastructure.(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-11)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2014 

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