Frostbite occurs when there is local freezing of tissues with ice crystal formation in the extracellular space. When the tissue is rewarmed, there is swelling with the consequent risk of a compartment syndrome developing.
Rewarming is also marked by a pro-coagulant state with the production of platelet clots and small vessel thrombosis. In addition, there is an increase of oxygen-free radicals, prostaglandings, proteolytic enzymes and thromboxane A2.
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