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April 10, 1954


JAMA. 1954;154(15):1278-1279. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940490042012

The physiological aspects of cold have recently been receiving increased attention in many research centers and in surgical clinics. Elsewhere in The Journal (page 1318) is a statement on the use of hypothermia for amputation that indicates the degree of refinement already achieved for this procedure. While it is not applicable, at least at this time, to many medical and surgical problems, it offers interesting data for study.

Body cooling was first introduced by Smith and Fay1 in 1939 as treatment for neoplasms. These authors found that relief of pain promptly followed "refrigeration" of the area involved or induced states of "hypothermia" in which the patient was maintained at levels of rectal temperature 81 to 90 F for as long as one to five days. McQuiston2 pointed out the danger of hyperthermia in "blue babies" subjected to cardiac intervention. He reported encouraging results in 25 children who were

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