Portable Arteriovenous Rewarming for Hypothermia: Cardiovascular Considerations

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Abstract

In trauma patients, continuous arteriovenous (AV) rewarming can effectively reverse hypothermia even if associated with hypovolemia. In battlefield conditions, however, portable fluid warmers driven by battery power show limited capacities. We studied the efficacy and safety of a portable fluid warmer that utilizes controlled hydrocarbon combustion (nonflame) for heat generation during continuous AV rewarming in a large animal model of hypothermia and hemorrhagic shock. Six dogs (26.1 ± 0.8 kg) were cooled to a core temperature of 30°C (hypo 1). After rewarming to 37°C, dogs were bled by 20% of their estimated blood volume and cooled again to 30°C (hypo 2) followed by rewarming. We recorded temperature (blood, esophageal, rectal, and bladder), left ventricular performance, hemodynamic parameters including superior mesenteric artery (SMA) flow and blood flow through the fluid warmer. Especially, we measured the effect of the AV-shunt on cardiac output and regional blood flow (superior mesenteric artery). Rewarming after hypothermia took 45 ± 6 minutes (hypothermia 1) and 55 ± 6 minutes (hypothermia 2), respectively. The AV-shunt flow was correlated to the cardiac output and affected neither cardiac output nor regional blood flow at any time point during the experiment. Arteriovenous rewarming, using the tested portable fluid warmer, effectively reversed hypothermia without compromising hemodynamics or regional blood flow.

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