Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 9th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Cold Snap

In search of the best way to treat frostbite saving digits and limbs

07 March 2020

Cold Snap

Doctors often compare notes, sharing their experiences and 'best practice' on how to treat diseases. When cases are rare, or spread over the globe, published medical reviews help to bring international findings together, looking for patterns in the pooled information that might lead to better treatments. A recent review on frostbite suggests injection with tissue plasminogen activator, a protein involving in reducing blood clots, has saved many digits from amputation, including the top two fingers of this 54-year old man. Clotting is one by-product of the body’s response to ice crystals formed inside blood vessels (seen here in black) – so it’s no surprise that heparin, a drug that helps 'thin' the blood, also helped in his treatment. Combination treatments like these may help doctors prepare for the ongoing rise in cold injury cases.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.