Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of inhalation rewarming in early resuscitative efforts for hypothermic victims. Data Sources: Search of MEDLINE and manual retrieval using the terms hypothermia, resuscitation, inhalation and treatment. All articles and papers published within the last 5 years were searched. Earlier literature was also included if considered vital to documenting the scientific basis and rationale for using airway rewarming. Study Selection. Letters to the editor, review articles, case reports and original research were included in this review. Material was considered for inclusion if it contributed generally to the understanding of the role of inhalation rewarming in the stabilization or treatment of accidental hypothermia. Results: The literature reported many instances in which inhalation rewarming appeared to contribute to a successful outcome during hypothermic resuscitative efforts. The maximum contribution that inhalation rewarming provides to overall core rewarming does not appear to endorse it as a sole method of core rewarming. Conclusions: The safety and efficacy of inhalation rewarming suggest that it is a viable adjunct of treatment during hypothermic resuscitation. Its routine use may be more appropriate for a field rescue situation where more advanced rewarming modalities may not be available or practicable. Also, its primary value may be to minimize further core temperature loss during early management of accidental hypothermia.
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