First Aid Responder Level 3 (VTQ)

213 videos, 11 hours and 50 minutes

Course Content

Cardiac Arrest in Hypothermic Patients

Video 78 of 213
2 min 30 sec
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Understanding Hypothermia's Role in Cardiac Arrest

Hypothermia's impact on cardiac arrest is profound. It's crucial to comprehend the intricacies of this condition, especially when faced with emergency situations.

The Prevalence of Hypothermia

Hypothermia is not uncommon, especially among individuals involved in outdoor activities or those working outside. A swift drop in body temperature can lead to hypothermia.

Defining Hypothermia

A decline in body temperature by merely 2°C from the typical 37°C can classify as hypothermia. Therefore, a reading of 35°C is hypothermia, and anything below that threshold is deemed severe.

Physiological Repercussions of Hypothermia

Body's Response

As hypothermia sets in, the body's core systems begin to conserve heat. This results in:

  • Vasoconstriction in extremities like hands, fingers, feet, and toes.
  • A redirecting of warm blood to the body's core to preserve vital organs.

Challenges in Pulse Detection

Recognising pulses in hypothermic individuals becomes increasingly challenging. With the body in a severe hypothermic state, especially after prolonged exposure to cold:

  • Radial pulses might be absent.
  • Carotid pulses, though primary, can be elusive.

Resuscitation Measures

Initiating the Process

A lack of detectable pulse should not deter the initiation of resuscitation. The pivotal principle to bear in mind is: "A patient is not dead until they are warm and dead."

Steps to Undertake

In the midst of hypothermia, the resuscitation process demands:

  • Gradual warming of the patient's body.
  • Consistent resuscitation and oxygenation.
  • Defibrillation, if a shockable rhythm is detected.

Final Thoughts

When confronted with a hypothermic cardiac arrest, the paramount rule remains to continue CPR until the patient is warmed. The maxim "warm and dead" is pivotal in guiding emergency care.

Learning Outcomes:
  • FPOS - Unit 3 LO2.3
  • IPOSi Unit four LO4.1 & 4.2