Physiologic Stages of Hypothermia

1. Mild hypothermia: Core temperature of 32-35 C (89.6-95 F). Increased metabolic rate and tachypnea occur; shivering mechanism is usually preserved; BP is maintained; dysarthria, ataxia, and apathy can develop.

2. Moderate hypothermia: Core temperature of 28-32°C (82.4°F). Cardiac output, respiration, and level of consciousness all decrease; shivering mechanism diminishes; atrial fibrillation and other dysrhythmias occur.

3. Severe hypothermia: Core temperature < 28°C (82.4 F). Shivering is absent; loss of consciousness occurs; cerebral blood flow is decreased; acid-base balance is disrupted; there is increased susceptibility to ventricular fibrillation or asystole; significant hypotension can occur.

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