Frostbite: experimental and clinical evaluations of treatment

J. P. Heggers, L. G. Phillips, R. L. McCauley, M. C. Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Based on experimental and clinical data, this review emphasizes the need for proper treatment of frostbite injuries. Experimentally employed anti-eicosanoid therapy in the modified Weatherly White model enhanced tissue survival, as each agent's inhibitory properties became more specific, when compared to controls. Topical methylprednisolone had a 17.5% tissue survival, while aspirin, Aloe vera cream and methimazole had 22.5%, 28.2% and 34.3% survival, respectively (p < 0.05). One hundred fifty-four (154) humans were evaluated as to therapeutic modalities; 56 were treated with topical Aloe vera cream and systemic ibuprofen, while 98 were treated with other modalities. Patient demographics were similar. However, hospital stay, tissue loss and morbidity were significantly (p < 0.001) reduced in the Aloe plus ibuprofen group when compared to the other therapeutic modalities, average 13 days v. 20 days, 79.9% healed v. 32.7% healed, and 7% morbidity v. 32.7% morbidity. Tissue loss from frostbite can be reduced if topical Aloe vera and systemic ibuprofen are employed as adjunctive therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Wilderness Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990


  • Aloe vera
  • anti-thromboxane
  • cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors
  • eicosanoids
  • frostbite
  • prostaglandins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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