Immediate Questions

A. What are the vital signs? Is patient breathing? Is there a pulse? Does patient have a cardiac arrhythmia?

B. What is patient's core temperature? Hypothermia is defined as a core temperature of 35°C (95°F) or less. It occurs when the body is no longer able to sustain normal temperature. Onset of hypothermia depends on the imbalance between increased heat loss and decreased heat production. Core temperature will help determine medical therapies: passive or active rewarming, cardioversion, or drug therapy.

C. What is the clinical setting? Very young children are susceptible to hypothermia as a result of environmental exposure. Alcohol ingestion also predisposes humans to environmentally induced hypothermia.

D. Is there a history of other medical problems? Patients with hypoglycemia, hypopituitarism, and hypoadrenalism may present with hypothermia.

E. Does patient have any possible source of infection? Septic patients may be hypothermic.

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