Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Canadian Avalanche victims die significantly quicker than Swiss counterparts, study finds

Date:
March 22, 2011
Source:
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Summary:
Avalanche victims buried in Canada die significantly quicker than those buried in Switzerland, according to new research.

Avalanche victims buried in Canada die significantly quicker than those buried in Switzerland, according to new research.

"Significant differences were observed between the overall survival curves for the two countries; compared with the Swiss curve, the Canadian curve showed a quicker drop at the early stages of burial and poorer survival associated with prolonged burial," writes Dr. Pascal Haegeli, Simon Fraser University, with coauthors. "Poorer survival probabilities in the Canadian sample were offset by significantly quicker extrication (median duration of burial 18 minutes v. 35 minutes in the Swiss sample)."

The study, by researchers in Canada, Italy and Switzerland, was undertaken to better understand factors that affect survival during an avalanche burial and to help improve rescue, resuscitation and safety protocols worldwide. The data included 301 Canadian and 946 Swiss records of completely buried avalanche victims between 1980 and 2005. The Canadian sample included more people involved in mechanized backcountry skiing and snowmobiling compared with the Swiss sample.

While trauma reduced survival primarily within the first 10 minutes of burial, the study also revealed that avalanches in areas with denser snow conditions -- such as the maritime Coast Mountains -- were associated with an earlier onset of asphyxia. Furthermore, the authors state that the reduced survival associated with prolonged avalanche burials beyond 35 minutes may have been due to limitations in clinical skills at the accident site and during transport as well as to long distances to advanced care facilities.

The consistently lower survival chances among Canadian avalanche burials clearly highlight the importance of prevention through education and avoidance.

However, when an avalanche burial does occur, prompt extrication by companions is paramount for survival. While the window for a successful companion rescue has been previously described as the first 18 minutes, this study shows that in Canada the window is smaller and 10 minutes might be a more appropriate guideline.

"Rescue teams need to be educated in avalanche rescue techniques. In addition, protocols are needed for more efficient evacuation to appropriate treatment centres, including tertiary care centres for extracorporeal rewarming of people with severe hypothermia," state the authors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pascal Haegeli, Markus Falk, Hermann Brugger, Hans-Jόrg Etter, Jeff Boyd. Comparison of avalanche survival patterns in Canada and Switzerland. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2011; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.101435

Cite This Page:

Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Canadian Avalanche victims die significantly quicker than Swiss counterparts, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134451.htm>.
Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2011, March 22). Canadian Avalanche victims die significantly quicker than Swiss counterparts, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134451.htm
Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Canadian Avalanche victims die significantly quicker than Swiss counterparts, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134451.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins