Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Support Group
Practical Information for the Compassionate Veterinary Practitioner
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    Fluid Warmers

Bob Stein

April 2011


Fluid warmers are an often misunderstood but a potentially useful tool for enhanced hypothermic patient support. When applied inappropriately, they provide no significant patient benefit.

Prewarmed fluid temperature declines quickly as it progresses along any length of unsupported IV fluid line. This is particularly true at the low fluid rates typically used in veterinary medicine. Effective fluid warmers apply supportive heat to the point of patient contact.

    Page References:
    Active warming of saline or blood is ineffective when standard infusion tubing is used: an experimental study. Bissonnette B, Paut O. Can J Anaesth. 2002 Mar;49(3):270-5.
    [Heating capabilities of fluid warming systems during low infusion rates]. Schnoor J, Simon HB, Schälte G, Weber I, Rossaint R. Anasthesiol Intensivmed Notfallmed Schmerzther. 2004 Aug;39(8):477-81. German.
    Evaluation of four methods of warming intravenous fluids. Henker R, Bernardo LM, O'Connor K, Sereika S. J Emerg Nurs. 1995 Oct;21(5):385-90.
    Flow rates and warming efficacy with Hotline and Ranger blood/fluid warmers. Horowitz PE, Delagarza MA, Pulaski JJ, Smith RA. Anesth Analg. 2004 Sep;99(3):788-92, table of contents.
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Last modified: April 10, 2011 .