Have you ever awakened after surgery procedure and felt cold? If so, you probably didn't receive a warm IV bag. Research shows that, in the absence of warmers for IV bags, surgical patients are likelier to experience hypothermia due to the cooling effect of anesthesia and cold IV fluids on the body. But cold IV fluids alone can cause hypothermia.
To prevent infusion-induced hypothermia, IV bag warmers should be implemented in the following areas of medical care: military, hospital, emergency response and specialty care such as dentistry and cancer treatment.
Blood transfusions are a common aspect of military medical care during wartime. A famous study on the benefits of warm transfusions showed that (a) when three or more liters of cold blood are transfused, nearly 50 percent of soldiers suffer cardiac arrest, but that (b) when warm blood is transfused, less than three percent of soldiers suffer cardiac arrest. Cold blood transfusions are seldom recognized as a cause of wartime casualties, but they indeed can be.
Hypothermia in hospitals is associated with three patient groups: infants, who have a small body mass and fluctuating body temperature; the elderly, who may have a poor diet and chronic illnesses; and surgical patients, who are predisposed to hypothermia for the reasons mentioned above.
In each case, hypothermia can lead to hospital-acquired illnesses that slow healing and, in some cases, result in death. An IV fluid warmer is not a cure for illness, but it helps to prevent illness by keeping blood temperature stable.
Intravenous infusions are a common aspect of emergency response to fires, car accidents, shootings and natural disasters. Typically administered within EMS vehicles, warm fluids play a critical role in sustaining the health of injury victims during travel to a hospital. Although hospitals administered a majority of infusions warm in 2010, EMS crews administered almost no warm infusions. In many cases, this was the result of EMS crews not having access to portable, battery-powered warmers.
Warmerstraditionally require AC power and are burdensome to transport due to their weight. But today, they are available in battery-powered, lightweight models that are easily portable.
IVs are administered in specialty care procedures for dentistry, plastic surgery and cancer, to name a few. During these procedures, cold fluids can impact cardiovascular health and, in some cases, the healing of small incisions such as those made during oral surgery. Like surgical patients and injury victims, specialty care patients receive significant health benefits from the administration of warm fluids instead of cold ones.
Warmersfor IV bags are not new, but their technology has advanced significantly in the last decade. Today, battery-powered warmers that weigh less than one pound, require no maintenance, have a warm up time of less than 50 seconds and setup time of less than 40 seconds are available at affordable prices.
Heavy, slowing working warmers that require AC power are no longer a necessity, and military, hospital, emergency response and specialty care medical professionals should be aware of this.
Author: Joe LoPiccolo
In my research on IV bag warmers, I've studied the areas of implementation for an IV fluid warmer.
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