"Nobody is dead until warm and dead": prolonged resuscitation is warranted in arrested hypothermic victims also in remote areas--a retrospective study from northern Norway

Resuscitation. 2014 Sep;85(9):1204-11. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2014.04.029. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Hypothermic cardiac arrest has high mortality and few known prognostic factors. We studied retrospectively 34 victims of accidental hypothermia with cardiac arrest admitted to The University Hospital of North Norway during 1985-2013 who were resuscitated and rewarmed by extracorporeal circulation. No patient survived prior to 1999, while nine out of 24 (37.5%) survived hypothermic cardiac arrest from 1999 to 2013. The lowest measured core temperature among survivors was 13.7°C; the longest time from cardiac arrest to return of spontaneous circulation was 6 h and 52 min. The only predictor of survival identified was lower blood potassium concentration in the nine survivors compared with the non-survivors. Submersion was not associated with reduced survival. Non-survivors consumed modest hospital resources. Most survivors had a favourable neurological outcome.

Keywords: Accidental hypothermia; Cardiac arrest; Extracorporeal rewarming; Hyperkalemia; Prehospital; Survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Death
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia / complications
  • Hypothermia / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Resuscitation* / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult