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A study of hypothermic patients presenting to a Mediterranean emergency department

Cassar, Mary R.; Camilleri, Amy S.

European Journal of Emergency Medicine: February 2015 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 35–41
doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000120

Background A retrospective chart review was carried out in the adult Emergency Department of Mater Dei Hospital in the ‘sunny warm Mediterranean island’ Malta, on patients admitted with a rectal temperature of less than 35°C during the two consecutive winters of 2010–2011 and 2011–2012.

Objective The aim of this study was to find any correlation among patients presenting with hypothermia and the weather conditions, age and residential background. We also studied their mortality outcomes.

Methods All patient data were collected from the Emergency Department’s medical records and patients’ case notes. All 199 patients admitted with hypothermia during these two winters were included in the study: 78 patients in winter 1 and 121 patients in winter 2.

Results and conclusion This showed that warm Malta also has its fair share of patients suffering from hypothermia during its winters. The minimum recorded temperatures ranged from +3.8 to +14.2°C in winter 1 and +3.6 to +13.1°C in winter 2. The majority of patients were suffering from either mild or moderate hypothermia, in roughly equal numbers. However, 4% of hypothermic admissions in the first winter and 7% in the colder second winter had severe hypothermia. Hypothermic admissions were most common among patients in their late seventies. Survival rates in primary hypothermia were better than in secondary hypothermia. The type of residence of the patient did not significantly affect the admission rate.

Emergency Department, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta

Correspondence to Amy S. Camilleri, MD, 38/39, Old Bakery Street, Valletta, VLT 1454, Malta Tel/fax: +356 21 225 647; e-mail:

Received June 2, 2013

Accepted January 7, 2014

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