For some, this topic may be more bread and butter than others. Many of you may work in cold areas where you are likely to see patients with hypothermia on a regular basis, especially in the winter. Whether you work shifts in a mountainous region or are simply catching up on EM topics while studying for boards in your in you flip flops by the beach, here are a few pearls regarding patients who present with hypothermia and their management.
Helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) offers rapid transport to trauma centers while simultaneously providing advanced prehospital care. It is through these reasons that HEMS carries a survival benefit over ground emergency medical services (GEMS). However, increasing financial burdens and aviation risks to flight crews/patients complicate the decision to transport a patient by HEMS.
You are intubating a sick patient in the ED via direct laryngoscopy. After opening the airway, sweeping the tongue with your blade, inserting into the vallecula, and lifting at the precisely correct angle your eyes behold....well...not the vocal cords! Maybe the arytenoid cartilages if you're lucky (aka Cormack Lehane 3 or 4 view). But wait, you aren't finished yet! You reach into your back pocket and remove your trusty bougie...