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Article
September 1950

EXPERIMENTS ON LOCAL HYPOTHERMIA FOR TREATMENT OF BURNS AND FROSTBITE

Author Affiliations

NEW YORK
From the City Hospital, Welfare Island, N. Y.

Arch Surg. 1950;61(3):515-523. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1950.01250020520011
Abstract

THE UNIQUE ability of cold to control simultaneously pain, shock, exudation, bacterial activity, tissue devitalization and toxic absorption has caused it to be recommended1 for a wide variety of surgical uses, including operative anesthesia and the treatment of burns, frostbite, embolism or thrombosis, crush injuries and other conditions of trauma or infection. Theoretic misconceptions of injury by or tolerance of cold were partly corrected in the preceding paper.2 Particularly the supposed blocking of oxygen utilization below 10 C. is contradicted by the intense activity of arctic fish3 as well as the long survivals of hibernating species and of infant mammals4 at near-freezing temperatures. As a general rule, the injurious effect of any deviation from normal temperature may be measured as a product of temperature and time. The coagulation of protein at upper temperature limits is more immediately and positively fatal than the ice crystal formation at

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