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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(8), 1351;

Amputation Risk Factors in Severely Frostbitten Patients

Secció de Fisiologia, Departament de Biologia Cel·lular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Medical Commission of the International Federation for Climbing and Mountaineering (UIAA MedCom), CH 3000 Bern, Switzerland
Departament de Ciències Fisiològiques, Facultat de Medicina, Universitat de Barcelona, 08907 Barcelona, Spain
Secció d’Estadística, Departament de Genètica, Estadística i Microbiologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Sports Activities: Injuries and Prevention)
PDF [766 KB, uploaded 15 April 2019]


In recent years, the incidence of frostbite has increased among healthy young adults who practice winter sports (skiing, mountaineering, ice climbing and technical climbing/alpinism) at both the professional and amateur levels. Moreover, given that the population most frequently affected is healthy and active, frostbite supposes a substantial interruption of their normal activity and in most cases is associated with long-term sequelae. It particularly has a higher impact when the affected person’s daily activities require exposure to cold environments, as either sports practices or work activities in which low temperatures are a constant (ski patrols, mountain guides, avalanche forecasters, workers in the cold chain, etc.). Clinical experience with humans shows a limited reversibility of injuries via potential tissue regeneration, which can be fostered with optimal medical management. Data were collected from 92 frostbitten patients in order to evaluate factors that represent a risk of amputation after severe frostbite. Mountain range, years of expertise in winter mountaineering, time elapsed before rewarming and especially altitude were the most important factors for a poor prognosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: frostbite; risk factors; amputation; winter sports frostbite; risk factors; amputation; winter sports

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Carceller, A.; Javierre, C.; Ríos, M.; Viscor, G. Amputation Risk Factors in Severely Frostbitten Patients. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1351.

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