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July 27, 1946

SURVIVAL OF HYPOTHERMIA BY MEN IMMERSED IN THE OCEAN

Author Affiliations

Rochester, N. Y.

From the Department of Physiology, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

JAMA. 1946;131(13):1046-1050. doi:10.1001/jama.1946.02870300014004
Abstract

The survival time of men immersed in cold water has not as yet been adequately determined, although it is a matter of practical importance when disasters occur at sea. The shortening of survival time in water is apparently related to the acceleration of body heat loss in water as compared with air, but the amount of hypothermia that can be tolerated and the reasons for greater heat loss in water have not been clearly defined. The usual explanation, that water conducts heat from the body twenty to twenty-five times more rapidly than air, is inadequate, as will be shown later.

The immersion experiments of Lefèvre1 were, on the whole, of too short duration to establish tolerance limits. Refrigeration of patients (Fay,2 Talbott,3 Dill and Forbes4) showed that man's body temperature may be reduced by several degrees without endangering life, but the environments employed during induction were

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