Diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic hypothermia in hospitals – a pilot study
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Background: An unintentional drop in core body temperature of trauma victims is associated with increased mortality. Thermoregulation is impaired in these patients, especially when treated with opioids or anesthetics. Careful thermal insulation and active warming are necessary to maintain normothermia. The aim of the study was to assess the equipment and procedures for diagnosing and managing post-traumatic hypothermia in Polish hospitals. Methods: Survey forms regarding equipment and procedures on monitoring of core temperature (Tc) and active warming were distributed to every hospital that admits trauma victims in the Holy Cross Province. Questionnaires were addressed to surgery departments, intensive care units (ICUs), and operating rooms (ORs). Results: 92% of surgery departments did not have equipment to measure core body temperature and 85% did not have equipment to rewarm patients. Every ICU had equipment to measure Tc and 83% had active warming devices. In 50% of ICUs, there were no rewarming protocols based on Tc and the initiation of rewarming was left to the physician’s discretion. In 58% of ORs, Tc was not monitored and in 33% the patients were not actively warmed. Conclusions: The majority of surveyed ICUs and ORs are adequately equipped to identify and treat hypothermia, however the criteria for initiating Tc monitoring and rewarming remain unstandardized. Surgery departments are not prepared to manage post-traumatic hypothermia.
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