Minimising intravenous (IV) fluid administration set heat loss: Review of three insulation methods

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Intravenous literature: Piek, R. and Stein, C. (2012) Three Insulation Methods to Minimize Intravenous Fluid Administration Set Heat Loss. Prehospital Emergency Care. Jul 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract:

Objective – To assess the effect of three methods for insulating an intravenous (IV) fluid administration set on the temperature of warmed fluid delivered rapidly in a cold environment.

Methods – The three chosen techniques for insulation of the IV fluid administration set involved enclosing the tubing of the set in 1) a cotton conforming bandage, 2) a reflective emergency blanket, and 3) a combination of technique 2 followed by technique 1. Intravenous fluid warmed to 44°C was infused through a 20-drop/mL 180-cm-long fluid administration set in a controlled environmental temperature of 5°C. Temperatures in the IV fluid bag, the distal end of the fluid administration set, and the environment were continuously measured with resistance thermosensors. Twenty repetitions were performed in four conditions, namely, a control condition (with no insulation) and the three different insulation methods described above. One-way analysis of variance was used to assess the mean difference in temperature between the IV fluid bag and the distal fluid administration set under the four conditions.

Results – In the control condition, a mean of 5.28°C was lost between the IV fluid bag and the distal end of the fluid administration set. There was a significant difference found between the four conditions (p < 0.001). A mean of 3.53°C was lost between the IV fluid bag and the distal end of the fluid administration set for both the bandage and reflective emergency blanket, and a mean of 3.06°C was lost when the two methods were combined.

Conclusion – Using inexpensive and readily available materials to insulate a fluid administration set can result in a reduction of heat loss in rapidly infused, warmed IV fluid in a cold environment.

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