Heart rate monitored hypothermia and drowning following a kayaking accident

Published in Cases Journal this week is the report of a 48-year old male Norwegian kayaker who capsized when paddling alone around an island in a Norwegian fjord. After managing to call for help on his mobile phone the kayaker lost consciousness and was found fifty minutes later by air ambulance floating, prone with his head submerged in sea water and was suffering from profound hypothermia with cardiopulmonary arrest. The kayaker was wearing a personal heart rate monitor/pulse watch.

Following cardiopulmonary resuscitation and warming, spontaneous circulation was achieved 3h 27 m after cardiac arrest occurred. The patient spent 21 days in intensive care but was discharged from hospital 32 days after the accident with impaired short term memory and spatial planning abilities. A year after the accident the patient had returned to a normal cognitive ability.

Aside from the patients lucky escape, this report is made particularly interesting by the collection of data from the patient’s mobile phone log, GPS data from the patient, GPS used in the helicopter, the patients pulse watch and medical records, allowing the authors to provide an interesting and detailed timeline of the patients heart rate as the incident unfolds.


Heart rate data - The graph shows the complete data of recorded heart rate for the whole kayak trip

Read the case in full here.

Title: “Heart rate monitored hypothermia and drowning in a 48-year-old man. survival without sequelae: a case report

Authors: Fredrik Koller Lund, Johan G R Torgersen and Hans Kristian Flaatten

Richard Sear – Editorial Assistant – Cases Network


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