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August 1960

Accidental Hypothermia: Report of Eight Cases of Subnormal Body Temperature Due to Exposure

Author Affiliations

Albany, N.Y.

From the Department of Medicine, Albany Hospital and Albany Medical College, Albany, N.Y. Assistant Resident in Medicine, Albany Hospital; Assistant Instructor in Medicine, Albany Medical College.

Arch Intern Med. 1960;106(2):218-229. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.03820020058009

Hypothermia is generally considered to be a special technique of the surgeon and anesthetist because of the increasing utilization of lowered body temperature in cardiovascular and neurosurgery. Twenty years ago, however, the internist was utilizing hypothermia to treat the intractable pain of terminal cancer,1 and since that time it has been used experimentally in the treatment of schizophrenia, leukemia, and morphine addiction.2 Routinely during winter months in northern hospitals the medical staff is faced with the problem of accidental hypothermia occurring as a result of exposure to cold. It is the purpose of this paper (1) to review the physiologic changes known to occur at subnormal body temperatures, (2) to present the clinical and pathological data from the cases of accidental exposure treated at this hospital over the past 12 years, and (3) to evaluate critically the management and therapy of the hypothermic state occurring as a result

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