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Peripheral neuropathy caused by severe hypothermia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Clinical Neurophysiology.
2013 (English)In: Clinical Neurophysiology, ISSN 1388-2457, E-ISSN 1872-8952, Vol. 124, no 5, 1019-1024 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To report follow-up data in the evaluation of peripheral neuropathy in a 29-year old female after accidental deep hypothermia (13.7 degrees C) in 1999. Methods: Nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) were performed 20 days after the accident and again after 5 months and 1, 3, 5 and 11 years. Macro EMG was performed after 3, 5 and 11 years. To evaluate small fiber function, RR-interval, sympathetic skin response, quantitative sensory testing and skin biopsy for quantification of intra-epidermal nerve fiber density were performed in 2009. Results: In the intensive care unit sensory and motor responses were absent except for the tibial nerves, and EMG showed profuse denervation. Improvement of amplitudes and conduction velocities was seen during the first 5 years. Muscular atrophy of hand muscles persisted. Large fibers were involved more extensively than small fibers. Conclusions: A severe axonal sensorimotor polyneuropathy developed in the intensive care unit following severe hypothermia. The mechanism was most likely cold injury to peripheral nerves. Significance: The clinical picture and the laboratory findings indicate that even multi-organ dysfunction and, of specific interest in this study, a severe axonal degeneration may come to a good restitution after long time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 124, no 5, 1019-1024 p.
Keyword [en]
Hypothermia, Neuropathy, Cold injury, Peripheral nerves, Critical illness
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-199696DOI: 10.1016/j.clinph.2012.11.002ISI: 000317344500023OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-199696DiVA: diva2:621374
Available from: 2013-05-14 Created: 2013-05-13 Last updated: 2013-05-14Bibliographically approved

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