Podcast # 438 : tPA for Frostbite - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast # 438 : tPA for Frostbite

Author: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:


  • Several studies have shown administration of tPA can improve outcomes and reduce need for amputation
  • tPA is considered in grade III and IV frostbite
  • tPA cannot be given until after the warming process
  • Administration is systemically, not catheter directed or intra-arterial


Jones LM, Coffey RA, Natwa MP, Bailey JK. The use of intravenous tPA for the treatment of severe frostbite. Burns. 2017 Aug;43(5):1088-1096. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2017.01.013. Epub 2017 Jan 31. PubMed PMID: 28159151.

Wexler A, Zavala S. The Use of Thrombolytic Therapy in the Treatment of Frostbite Injury. J Burn Care Res. 2017 Sep/Oct;38(5):e877-e881. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0000000000000512. PubMed PMID: 28296671.

Summarized by Travis Barlock, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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