Why Should a Paramedic IV Kit Contain a Portable IV Warmer?

A paramedic IV kit should contain a portable IV warmer to assist injury victims who need emergency infusions. When injury victims receive cold infusions, they often experience hypothermia, as the temperature of the liquid lowers their body temperature. By preventing IV-induced hypothermia, IV fluid warmers prevent the side effects of the malady, such as suppressed immune system function, cardiac arrest, and coagulation impairment. If an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) is considering implementing portable IV warmers, below are examples of conditions that the devices are helpful for treating.

Drug Overdose

Various types of illicit drugs and prescription drugs cause hypothermia when they are consumed in sufficient quantities. For example, overdosing on prescription tranquilizers, as in heroin use is known to cause hypothermia. Although chemically counteracting the effects of a drug overdose is typically the first order of treatment, helping the victim overcome hypothermia by administering heated IV fluids is an important form of treatment as well.

Over-consumption of Alcohol

Alcohol creates a feeling of warmth in the user by causing body heat to rise to the surface of the skin, but this process actually depletes body heat. When the drinker consumes enough alcohol, the user is impervious to cold temperatures. If he or she remains exposed to the cold, the action of the alcohol in his or her body may accelerate the progression of hypothermia, leading to nerve damage and potentially a coma. Administering an infusion with a paramedic IV kit that contains IV fluid warmers will help reverse the hypothermia.

Blood Loss

Blood loss is a common cause of hypothermia for many injury victims. As the blood loss progresses, the hypothermia also progresses, and vice versa. Hypothermia impairs the body’s coagulation function by affecting platelet function, coagulation cascade, and fibrinolysis. An injury victim who experiences moderate to severe bleeding can enter a vicious cycle of hypothermia by increasing the blood loss, and the blood loss increasing hypothermia. Administering warm fluid while treating the wounds stops the cycle.

Exposure to Cold Temperatures

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures is the most well known cause of primary hypothermia. In many cases, the malady results from the patient being involved in an accident that eliminates his or her mobility, and leaves him or her exposed to cold weather. If a person has reached a moderate or severe state of hypothermia due to temperature exposure, treating him or her with blankets and ingestible liquids may not be enough. The patient may need a warm IV infusion to reverse his or her condition. Otherwise, the patient could enter a hypothermic coma.

Conclusion

A paramedic IV kit that contains IV fluid warmers helps first responders treat a variety of medical conditions that have hypothermia as a side effect, particularly: drug overdose, over-consumption of alcohol, and blood loss. In addition to being dangerous in itself, hypothermia has dangerous side effects, including: impaired coagulation, cardiac arrest, and suppressed immune system function, the latter of which increases the likelihood of bacterial infection. To learn more about the benefits of using portable blood warmers for EMS work, contact a supplier of EMS IV equipment today.