Intravenous (IV) fluids are traditionally administered without being heated-a practice that can cause hypothermia. When the temperature of an infusion is below 95Â°F-the lowest temperature at which the body retains its normal metabolism-it places the patient at risk for secondary hypothermia. If left unresolved, hypothermia can lead to coma and loss of life; it can also precipitate cardiac arrest and increase the likelihood of hospital-acquired infections, especially following surgery.
Heated infusions are administered in a variety of settings to help prevent these maladies. Today, the most common settings for the administration of heated infusions are:
Hospitals use IV warmers in delivery rooms, emergency rooms, surgery units, and other areas. Traditionally, hospitals use conventional warmers that require an electrical outlet and take as long as twelve minutes to set up and heat up. Because devices that take several minutes to prep and require an electrical outlet have limited usefulness in emergencies, many hospitals have switched to portable, battery-powered warmers that are ready for service in less than two minutes. In addition to allowing hospitals to deliver infusions faster, battery-powered warmers make it easier to transport patients from unit to unit.
Plastic surgery clinics, dental clinics where surgery is performed, and gastrointestinal (GI) clinics where endoscopies are performed are common examples of medical clinics that need an IV fluid warming system. Because most health clinics are not as equipped to deal with the potential side effects of hypothermia as hospitals are, delivering warm infusions is especially important.
Wounded soldiers routinely need blood transfusions, and heating the transfusions is a crucial measure for preventing cardiac arrest. A study of the effects of the temperature of blood transfusions on wounded soldiers found that over fifty percent of soldiers who received cold blood experienced cardiac arrest soon after the infusion, while less than three percent of soldiers who received heated infusions experienced cardiac arrest.
Battery-powered, disposable warmers are the most useful type of fluid warming systems for war zones. The disposability of the systems allows military emergency medical service (EMS) crews to avoid sterilizing them, and therefore eliminates the risk of infection due to improper sterilization.
Emergency Response Areas
Without battery-powered warmers, EMS crews have no way to heat infusions that are administered in ambulances, or in areas where electrical outlets are unavailable. Many injury victims are already in a state of hypothermia when emergency technicians reach them, and treating them with cold infusions can make the situation even worse. Battery-powered, disposable warmers are the ideal type of warmers for EMS crews.
An IV fluid warming system allows medical professionals to heat infusions-a practice that helps prevent secondary hypothermia. Although dangerous by itself, hypothermia can lead to other dangerous health conditions such as cardiac arrest and an increased risk of hospital-acquired infections. If you manage a hospital, health clinic, or an EMS unit that does not use to IV fluid warming systems, implementing the systems in its range of care options can help prevent life threatening hypothermia.
Author: Joe LoPiccolo
An IV fluid warming system helps prevent hypothermia. Hospitals, health clinics, and EMS crews routinely use IV fluid warming systems.
View Count: 322