Environmental Factors Affect Risk of Hypothermia in Trauma

Severity of injury remains key risk factor for hypothermia during transport of trauma patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Aside from injury severity, environmental conditions are significant factors impacting the risk of onset of hypothermia in trauma patients being transported to the hospital by emergency medical services (EMS), according to a study published online July 31 in Critical Care.

To identify factors influencing onset of hypothermia during prehospital care of trauma victims, Frédéric Lapostolle, M.D., from Hôpital Avicenne in Bobigny, France, and colleagues conducted a prospective, multicenter observational study of 448 trauma victims (over 18 years of age) receiving EMS care who were transported to hospital in a medically staffed mobile unit.

The researchers found that, on arrival at the hospital, hypothermia (<35 degrees Celsius) was present in 64 of the patients (14 percent). In multivariate analysis, factors which were significantly associated with the absence of hypothermia included Revised Trauma Score (odds ratio [OR], 1.68); no intubation (OR, 4.23); temperature of the infusion fluid (OR, 1.17); temperature of the mobile unit (OR, 1.20); patient not unclothed (OR, 0.40); and no head injury (OR, 0.36).

"The key risk factor for the onset of hypothermia was the severity of injury, but environmental conditions and the medical care provided by EMS were also significant factors," the authors write. "Changes in practice could help reduce the impact of factors such as infusion fluid temperature and mobile unit temperature."

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