Cause of Device-Related Incident
*Not stated

Clinical Specialty or Hospital Department
Anesthesia; CCU / ICU / NICU; Clinical/Biomedical Engineering; Emergency Medicine; OR / Surgery

Device Factors
*Not stated

Document Type

External Factors
*Not stated

Mechanism of Injury or Death
Embolism (gaseous or particulate); Infection

Support System Failures
*Not stated

Tampering and/or Sabotage
*Not stated

User Errors
*Not stated

Suggested Guidelines for Blood Warmer Use


Use a blood warmer:

  • For massive transfusions (50% of body blood volume)
  • When therapy calls for 25% of body blood volume, but the potential exists that more units may be required or that these units may be administered rapidly
  • When transfusing blood to patients with cold agglutinins

Special consideration should be given when transfusing blood to neonates, pediatric or elderly patients, and patients susceptible to cardiac dysfunction.

When you can't decide:

  • Analyze the patient's condition and consider the risks of heat loss.
  • Consider whether other warming devices (radiant warmers, HMEs, heated humidifiers, hypo-/hyperthermia units, warmed irrigation fluids, forced-air blanket warmers, etc.) can adequately offset expected temperature losses.
  • If in doubt (especially with neonates or pediatric or elderly patients), use a blood warmer and assess its effectiveness.

Don't postpone setting up the warmer

  • Waiting to set up the blood warmer until it is needed may interrupt the procedure, compromise the sterile field, and/or cause a significant drop in patient temperature.
  • Blood warmers can help offset expected heat losses but cannot compensate for such losses once a patient's temperature has begun to fall.

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