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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul 12

Wilderness Environ Med

Early Use of Iloprost in Nonfreezing Cold Injury.


Tam A, Lyons T, Vennam S, Barnes R, Imray C
Wilderness Environ Med. 2022 Jul 12.
PMID: 35840449.


Nonfreezing cold injury (NFCI) is caused by prolonged exposure to cold, usually wet conditions and represents a separate pathological entity from frostbite. The pathophysiology of NFCI is characterized by vasoconstriction and microcirculatory disturbance. Iloprost, a synthetic prostaglandin analogue with vasodilatory properties is a recognized adjuvant treatment in frostbite; however, its role in NFCI is unclear. We present a case of a 29-y-old man with severe NFCI to both forefeet after prolonged immersion in cold seawater. Initial treatment with passive rewarming, analgesia and aspirin was initiated. Infusion of iloprost was used within 24 h from presentation and was well tolerated. This resulted in reduced tissue loss compared to the apparent tissue damage documented during the initial assessment. Delayed surgical intervention allowed minor debridement and minor toe amputations, maintaining the patient's ability to ambulate. This case demonstrates the safe use of iloprost in acute NFCI and highlights the importance of delayed surgical intervention in patients presenting with severe NFCI.