"You Have to Be Warm and Dead:" ECMO as a Therapeutic Option for Severe Accidental Hypothermia

  • Accidental hypothermia is defined as core temperature <35o C. 
  • Traditional therapies for accidental hypothermia have included warm IV fluids, humidified warmed air, and warm internal lavage, but ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) may be a new option for severe accidental hypothermia
  • Scattered case reports have shown ECMO to improve outcomes and allow for more rapid rewarming while providing hemodynamic support and oxygenation.

Criteria for ECMO:
Core temp <32o C
No obvious signs of irreversible death
Cause of arrest due to hypothermia and not from hypoxia or prior cardiac arrest with concomitant hypothermia
Serum K <12