You are here

Frostbite S013

Last amended 
9 January 2018
Current RMA Instruments
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP11 of 2018
Balance of Probabilities SOP12 of 2018
Changes from previous Instruments

SOP Bulletin 200

ICD Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Codes: 991.0, 991.1, 991.2, 991.3
  • ICD-10-AMCodes: T33, T34, T35.
Brief description

In frostbite the local body region (fingers, toes, ears, nose, chin) is frozen leading to direct damage to cells and damage to biological tissue through ischaemia. The severity of the damage can only be fully evaluated some days to weeks after the complete rewarming of the affected area.

Confirming the diagnosis

The diagnosis is made on clincial grounds, based on the context of the injury, the signs and the symptoms.

Additional diagnoses covered by SOP
  • Nil
Conditions excluded from SOP
  • Chilblains*
  • Frostnip# - no permanent tissue damage
  • Hypothermia#
  • Non-freezing cold injury*

* another SOP applies  - the SOP has the same name unless otherwise specified

# non-SOP condition

Clinical onset

Clinical onset will be when evidence of tissue freezing was first evident, and within 24 hours of the relevant exposure to freezing conditions.

Clinical worsening

The only SOP worsening factor is for inability to obtain appropriate clinical management.  Timely diagnosis and treatment (rewarming and other measures) is essential to maximize tissue salvage.