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Hypothermia (cont.)

Hypothermia Diagnosis

In severe cases of hypothermia, diagnosis and treatment usually will occur at the same time because it is a medical emergency.

  • The doctor will take a history from either the victim, if possible, or from whoever is present. Some vital information includes the length of exposure, the circumstances of recovery, and any past medical problems that may have influenced this episode.
  • Symptoms vary, so the final diagnosis depends on the core body temperature. It is never taken by mouth. The temperature may be measured rectally or by a tube placed in the esophagus. Temperature will be measured continuously, when such devices are available.
  • A number of blood tests will be performed as hypothermia can affect almost every organ system in the body. X-rays, may be ordered, and an ECG (electrocardiogram) will be done to look at the electrical activity of the heart. The patient might be placed on a monitor to continuously observe their heart rate and watch for arrhythmias.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/30/2012

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