Microangiography to Monitor Treatment Outcomes Following Severe Frostbite Injury to the Hands

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Abstract

Frostbite injury causes direct damage to tissues following exposure to temperatures below their freezing point causing tissue death potentially leading to serious amputations. After rewarming, a variety of treatment options have been employed to avoid amputation. This case report details the use of indocyanine green fluorescence microangiography to monitor the clinical progression of perfusion following hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for severe frostbite injury. We present a case report of a man with deep frostbite of the bilateral hands treated with thrombolytics and HBOT. After rewarming, the patient received thrombolytics shortly after arrival and then went on to be treated with HBOT on hospital day 5. Patient’s healing progress was monitored using serial microangiography. Microangiography evaluation was performed on day 6 and then weekly to track treatment progress. A more uniform brightness appears in his left hand by completion of his therapies, consistent with normal perfusion. The dark ischemic areas in the right hand receded in digits 1 to 3 and appeared normalized in the fourth digit. The patient received a total of 20 HBO treatments. After completion of therapy, the patient went on to have a partial amputation of his first, second, and third fingers on his right hand. Our case report demonstrates serial microangiography to monitor a frostbite patient’s progress during HBOT and provided additional information allowing us to plan duration of treatments. Our case report describes the role that microangiography may serve in monitoring patient progress following severe frostbite injury.

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