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Design and Demonstration of a Battery-Less Fluid Warmer for Combat

Fall 2013

Ndao S, Jensen KF, Velmahos GC, King DR. 13(3). 31 - 36. (Journal Article)


Background: Prehospital battlefield hypothermia remains an issue, with cold fluid resuscitation likely being a significant contributor. Currently, no prehospital battlefield technology exists to warm intravenous resuscitation fluids. Existing commercial fluid-warming technologies are either inadequate or unreliable or have an unacceptable weight and size, making them inappropriate for the austere combat environment. We propose the creation of a battery-less, flameless, portable, low- weight, small, chemically powered fluid warmer for the battlefield. Methods: A magnesium-based exothermic chemical reaction was used as the sole heating source. A low-weight, small insulated container was created to contain the reaction. The chemical reaction was manipulated to sustain fluid heating as long as required. Results: The exothermic reaction was used to boil a Fluorinert ™ liquid within an insulated container that heats resuscitation fluid passing through the heat exchanger. A working prototype device, 9 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter, was engineered and tested. Warming was maintained over a variety of clinically relevant flow rates. Conclusion: A chemically based, safe, battery-less, flameless, lightweight fluid warmer was created. This technology could represent a significant remote capability currently unavailable on the battlefield.

Keywords: trauma; bleeding; prehospital; resuscitation; warming; thermal

PMID: 24048986

DOI: 10.55460/09EB-Z83O

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