Body Cooling

Body temperature is normally tightly regulated but is less well-controlled in the very young, and impaired by age, disease, injury and alcohol/drugs.

As the body cools, the metabolic rate falls and neural transmission is inhibited [4]. Multiple derangements occur including:

  • Depressed myocardial contractility

  • Leftwards shift of the oxygen dissociation curve (leading to reduced availability of oxygen at the tissue level)

  • Vasoconstriction

  • Ventilation-perfusion mismatch

  • Increased blood viscosity

All of these reduce tissue oxygenation [5].