File this one under: Good to know, hope I never need it.
I've never had frostbite though I've certainly had plenty of cases of "screaming meanies" (ask any ice climber if you don't know what that is). But as a mountaineer, frostbite is something that I need to be prepared for--quite a few of my friends have lost bits of fingers and toes.
This week, a paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology about a breakthrough treatment for frostbite that has the potential to prevent amputations. The technique involves using an IV to infuse the affected limb with a drug (Tenectaplase) through arteries upstream of the injured area so this likely isn't something that will be done in the field. The results appear to be a dramatic improvement over the standard protocols, which often resulted in small blood clots that wreak havoc on thawing tissue.