New drug treatment saves frostbitten fingers, toes

Amputation rates decline when tPA treatment used
Nov. 18, 2014

Doctors and nurses at the University of Colorado Hospital’s Burn Center are saving frostbitten fingers and toes by using an innovative drug therapy that increases blood flow to the affected area.

The drug is a blood thinner called tissue plaminogen activator (tPA). Often used to treat heart attacks and strokes, it also increases blood flow to frostbitten digits.

“We started using it 5 years ago, and our amputation rate has gone down dramatically,” said Dr. Gordon Lindberg, the Burn Center’s medical director.