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Dead? Or just cold: profoundly hypothermic patient with no signs of life
  1. C S Ko1,
  2. J Alex1,
  3. S Jeffries2,
  4. J M Parmar1
  1. 1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, North Staffordshire Hospitals, Royal Infirmary, Princes Road, Stoke on Trent ST4 7LN, UK
  2. 2Department of Clinical Perfusion, North Staffordshire Hospitals, Royal Infirmary, Stoke on Trent
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr J M Parmar;


A 37 year old man was found in his garden cold with no signs of life. Pupils were fixed and dilated. Electrocardiography showed asystole initially. The paramedic crew started cardiopulmonary resuscitation and transferred him to the accident and emergency department. His temperature was 17.0°C. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was continued for three hours before rewarming using partial cardiopulmonary bypass. He eventually regained spontaneous cardiac output and made a full neurological recovery. Hypothermic patients with no evidence of life cannot be assumed to be dead as there is a chance of full recovery when fully warmed.

  • hypothermia
  • circulatory arrest
  • resuscitation
  • cardiopulmonary bypass

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