Negative pressure rewarming vs. forced air warming in hypothermic postanesthetic volunteers

Anesth Analg. 2001 Jan;92(1):261-6. doi: 10.1097/00000539-200101000-00052.


We compared changes in core temperature and systemic heat balance with a new negative pressure/warming device (Vital Heat(R) ) that uses negative pressure combined with heat to facilitate warming in vasoconstricted postoperative patients to those resulting from passive insulation or forced air. Seven healthy volunteers were anesthetized and cooled to a tympanic membrane temperature near 34 degrees C. Anesthesia was discontinued and shivering was prevented by using meperidine. The vasoconstricted volunteers were rewarmed for 2 h using three randomly assigned methods: 1) Vital Heat plus cotton blanket; 2) one layer of cotton blanket; 3) forced-air warming. Thermal flux was recorded from 15 skin-surface sites; metabolic heat production was estimated from total body oxygen consumption. Metabolic heat production remained constant throughout the study. Systemic heat loss remained constant during warming with cotton blankets but decreased significantly during the other treatments. Systemic heat balance increased significantly more with forced air (140 +/- 21 kcal) than with Vital Heat (66 +/- 19 kcal) or cotton blankets (47 +/- 18 kcal). Core temperature increased no faster with Vital Heat warming (1.3 +/- 0.4 degrees C) than with a cotton blanket (1.2 +/- 0.4 degrees C). In contrast, core temperature increased more rapidly with forced air warming (2.6 +/- 0.6 degrees C). In this study we show that calories from a negative pressure rewarming device are largely constrained to the forearm and that heat does not flow to the core thermal compartment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Anesthesia, General / adverse effects*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia / etiology
  • Hypothermia / therapy*
  • Male
  • Pressure
  • Rewarming / methods*
  • Skin Temperature / physiology
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology