Risk factors for acute pancreatitis in patients with accidental hypothermia

BACKGROUND Pancreatic damage is commonly observed as a consequence of accidental hypothermia (core body temperature below 35 °C). We aimed to investigate the risk factors for pancreatic damage and the causal relationship in patients with accidental hypothermia.
METHODS This retrospective, single-center, observational case-control study was conducted in the emergency department of a tertiary care medical center. We investigated patients who were admitted for accidental hypothermia over a course of ten years (January 2008 to December 2017).
RESULTS Of the 138 enrolled patients, 70 had elevated serum amylase levels (51%). We observed a correlation between initial core body temperature and serum amylase level (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient -0.302, p < 0.001). Patients who developed acute pancreatitis had a significantly lower initial core body temperature than those who did not develop it (odds ratio = 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.61-0.94; p = 0.011). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that a body temperature lower than 28.5 °C at the time of visit was predictive of acute pancreatitis (area under the curve = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.54-0.88, sensitivity = 0.67, specificity = 0.69, p = 0.017).
CONCLUSIONS We concluded that an initial core body temperature lower than 28.5 °C was a risk factor for acute pancreatitis in accidental hypothermia cases. In such situations, careful follow-up is necessary.

as reported in: Am J Emerg Med. 2019 Feb; 37(2): 189-193