National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Hypothermia Deaths

Hypothermia Deaths

Main points

  • In 2017 there were 34 deaths in Scotland that involved hypothermia. This represents a 65% decrease since 2000 and a 68% decrease since the recent high of 106 in 2002. Of these 34 deaths, hypothermia was the underlying cause in eight deaths and a contributing factor in 26. More information about the distinction between underlying causes and contributory factors can be found on the Death Certificates and Coding the Causes of Death section of the NRS website.
  • Of the 34 deaths involving hypothermia in 2017, 19 were male (56%) and 15 were female (44%). Since 2000, there have been 1,253 deaths involving hypothermia, of which 58% were male and 42% were female.
  • Deaths involving hypothermia are more common in older age groups. In 2017, there were only two hypothermia related deaths of people under the age of 45. 27 of the 34 deaths involving hypothermia (79%) were of people age 65 or over. The most common age group for deaths involving hypothermia was 80-84 years with 9 deaths.
  • In 2017, the health boards with the greatest number of deaths involving hypothermia were Greater Glasgow and Clyde (9) and Lothian (8). There were three health boards, Borders, Orkney and Shetland, that had no deaths involving hypothermia. Caution must be used when comparing incidence of deaths involving hypothermia across subnational areas because the numbers are very small and fluctuate year on year.
  • In 12 out of Scotland’s 32 council areas there were no deaths involving hypothermia and in a further 14, there was only one death involving hypothermia. This compares to 2000 where there were only five council areas with no deaths and five with one death involving hypothermia.

All statistical publications