January 27, 2021

Take Home Points
  • Frostbite is a severe, localized cold-induced injury due to freezing and thawing of tissue.
  • We usually see these injuries affecting the ears, nose, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Patients will complain of cold, numb or stiff sensations and discoloration of the skin.  
  • Critical ED treatment starts with rewarming in a warm, NOT HOT, water bath, analgesia and wound care.
  • More extensive treatments include blister debridement, tPA, prostacyclin analogues and fasciotomy.  Patients with severe frostbite will likely require multidisciplinary care with surgery and critical care so consider early consults.
  • And last, be sure to check the patients core temp and treat hypothermia complications, such as diuresis
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