Endovascular rewarming in the emergency department for moderate to severe accidental hypothermia

Am J Emerg Med. 2017 Nov;35(11):1624-1629. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2017.05.001. Epub 2017 May 8.


Background: Endovascular temperature control catheters can be utilized for emergent rewarming in accidental hypothermia. The purpose of this study was to compare patients with moderate to severe hypothermia rewarmed with an endovascular temperature control catheter versus usual care at our institution.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, observational cohort study of patients with moderate to severe accidental hypothermia (core body temperature less than 32°C) in the Emergency Department of an urban, tertiary care medical center. We identified the rewarming techniques utilized for each patient, including those who had an endovascular temperature control catheter placed (Quattro© or Icy© catheter, CoolGuard© 3000 regulation system, Zoll Medical). Rewarming rates and outcomes were compared for patients with and without the endovascular temperature control catheter. We systematically screened for procedural complications.

Results: There were 106 patients identified with an initial core temperature less than or equal to 32°C; 52 (49%) patients rewarmed with an endovascular temperature control catheter. Other methods of rewarming included external forced-air rewarming (85, 80%), bladder lavage (17, 16%), gastric lavage (10, 9%), closed pleural lavage (6, 6%), and peritoneal lavage (3, 3%). Rate of rewarming did not differ between the groups with and without catheter-based rewarming (1.3°C/h versus 1.0°C/h, difference 0.3°C, 95% confidence interval [CI] of the difference 0-0.6°C) and neither did survival (70% versus 71%, difference 1%, 95% CI -17 to 20%). We did not identify any significant vascular injuries resulting from endovascular catheter use.

Conclusion: The endovascular temperature control system was not associated with an increased rate of rewarming in this cohort with moderate to severe hypothermia; however, this technique appears to be safe and feasible.

Keywords: Accidental hypothermia; Critical care; Endovascular temperature catheter.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Temperature
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Endovascular Procedures / instrumentation
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastric Lavage
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia / therapy*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peritoneal Lavage
  • Pleural Cavity
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rewarming / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Young Adult