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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-28

Cold injuries in the glacial regions of India


Department of Surgery, Army Field Hospital, Pratppur, Leh & Ladakh, India

Correspondence Address:
Maj (Dr). Aditya Pawar
Department of Surgery, Field Hospital, Pratappur, Leh, Ladakh - 194 401, Leh & Ladakh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_51_20

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Background: Personnel deployed at an altitude ranging from 9000 ft to 23,000 ft are exposed to sub-zero temperatures up to −40°C. These conditions lead to the development of various cold injuries which presents in varying grades and severity. Aim: The aim of this study is to study the epidemiological trends and assess risk factors/conditions those are contributing to the development of cold weather injuries (CWI) at extreme cold climate in high altitude areas. Methodology: This is a retrospective, observational study on cold injury cases evacuated from the northern glaciers of India. The data were collected and tabulated in MS-Excel sheets, and analysis was done using percentage, mean, median, linear regression, and P value calculation. SPSS statistical analysis software version 23 was employed for generating the results. P < 0.05 was considered for statistically significant. Results: The annual incidence of cold injuries calculated for troops deployed at high altitude (>9000 feet) with extreme cold climate is 6.4/1000/year. The average duration of exposure for the development of CWI was found to be 4.85 h with a standard deviation = 2.88 h. Statistically significant association was found between the median temperatures and number of cold injury cases evacuated monthly with a strong negative coefficient of correlation (Pearson's) value r = −0.8214, and P = 0.001063. No correlation was found between the severity of frostbites and duration of exposure as the coefficient of correlation r (Pearson's) was weakly positive with a value of 0.19 and statistically not significant with P = 0.127. Conclusion: This study highlights the magnitude of problem, high risk zones, and predisposing activities. Statistical association has been drawn between altitude, temperature and duration of exposure with burden of cold injury. This study provides an insight with respect to associations and risk factors for the development of CWI, in Indian perspective and may be beneficial for better planning and preventive measures to reduce burden of CWI.


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