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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 136-140

Epidemiology and treatment outcome of frostbite at high altitudes in North India – A cross-sectional study

1 Department of Vascular Surgery, Army Hospital R&R, Delhi Cantt, India
2 Prof Nephrology, Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore, India
3 Depatment of Plastic Surgery, Army Hospital R&R, Delhi Cantt, India
4 Public Health Specialist, Firozepur Cantt, India
5 Deparmtent of General Surgery, Military Hospital, Namkum, India
6 Deparmtent of General Surgery, Air Force Hospital, Jodhpur, India
7 Public Health Specialist, Jalandhar Cantt, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. R Vishnuprasad
NP23 Site 10 Jhoke Road, Firozepur Cantt, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_60_19

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Context: Frost bite is an important cause of morbidity among armed forces personnel who are employed in high altitude areas. Aims: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the epidemiological aspects and treatment outcome of frostbite injuries among healthy adults working in sub-zero temperatures of the Himalayas. Settings and Design: The study was carried out as a retrospective observational study among all frost bite patients (n = 72) reporting to two zonal hospitals in Northern sector of India from during January 2014 to November 2016. Methods and Material: Patients who had no signs of life on arrival, and patients with injuries due to sunburn / UV rays were excluded from the study. Statistical Analysis Used: Means and proportions were calculated for continuous and nominal variables respectively. Results: All patients were males with mean age of 27.8±2.5 years. Majority of cases 57 (79.2%) had first and second degree frost bite while, third and fourth degree frost bites were noted in 10 and five patients respectively. Maximum cases were reported during the months of December and January. Wound debridement (6.9%), and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (5.6%) were the most common adjunct procedures. Auto amputation was observed in 8.3%. Full recovery was noted in most of the patients except four, who had to undergo amputation of the affected part. Conclusion: Frostbite can result in a wide spectrum of injury, ranging from complete resolution without significant sequelae to major limb amputation and its functional morbidity. First and second degree frost bite were the most common, predominantly noticed in young individuals during peak winter months of December and January.

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