Fast Five Quiz: Frostbite and Hypothermia

Richard H. Sinert, DO


December 03, 2020

Frostbite is primarily a disease of morbidity. Mortality may occur if injured tissue becomes infected or if concurrent hypothermia occurs. Children have a larger body surface area to weight (volume) ratio and therefore are at greater risk for hypothermia than are adults.

Favorable prognostic indicators include the following:

  • The more superficial the injury, the better

  • Early sensation to pinprick

  • Healthy-appearing skin after rewarming

  • Clear blister more favorable than hemorrhagic blister

Poor prognostic indicators include the following:

  • Absence of edema

  • Hemorrhagic blebs

  • Blebs not extending to tips of phalanges

  • Persistent mottling/violaceous hue (cyanosis) and anesthesia after rewarming

  • Frozen appearance of tissue

Read more about the prognosis of frostbite.


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