After application of the “vest” to a hyperthermic patient, the patient care provider introduces an eco-friendly chemical solution into the baffles of the vest which thereafter provides one hour of cooling and reduction of ambient temperature by 25 degrees Celsius. The vest is compatible with automatic CPR devices, defibrillation, and has not been shown to cause cold induced tissue injury. Proof of concept demonstrations and clinical trials
have shown the device effective both for heat exhaustion and heat stroke patients as well as an adjunct therapy for out -of-hospital cardiac arrest in military, SAR, and race/event settings.
The device has a rather large price tag for one-time use and is about 15 lbs, so while it doesn’t seem to fit the bill for small party first aid kits, they obviously have a place for military, fire, and event planning where susceptibility to hyperthermic injury is more likely.
On the opposite end of the temperature spectrum and approaching a cost/ weight advantage to consider deployment with virtually any assigned wilderness medical provider is our final device review in hyper/hypothermia diagnosis and management. Earlier, our discussion highlighted the mitigation of heat loss by the vacuum mattress. The vacuum mattress is, indeed, very effective and can also work in conjunction with rescue litters and hypothermia .“burrito wraps”
Hypothermia is one component of the nebulous “trauma triad” (the other two being coagulopathy and metabolic acidosis) with associated increases in mortality. When mitigation strategies and passive rewarming techniques for heat loss are insufficient, a more active field rewarming approach is required. In this situation, the wilderness medical provider should give strong consideration to the application of the “ready-heat” blanket
, by Tech Trade, LLC. This blanket is one of my personal favorite adjuncts to my first aid kit when deploying with Portland Mountain Rescue.