Warmed versus room temperature saline for laceration irrigation: a randomized clinical trial

South Med J. 2003 May;96(5):436-9. doi: 10.1097/01.SMJ.0000056657.63336.6C.


Background: Patient comfort is an important part of laceration repair.

Methods: The study was a randomized single-blind cross-over trial in which each participant received 250 ml warmed and 250 ml room temperature saline irrigation in simple linear wounds after a local anesthetic was instilled. The solutions and the order of irrigation (warmed first versus second) were separately randomized with a washout period between. Investigators obtaining scores were blinded. Participants determined preferred solution, whether the solution was soothing, and which caused the most discomfort. Participants rated the pain of irrigation using separate Visual Analog Scale scores.

Results: Thirty-eight patients were enrolled in the study. Significantly more preferred warmed to room temperature solutions (difference, 34%; 95% confidence interval, 5.7-63). A Wilcoxon signed-rank test for paired data showed no order effect (P = 0.49) or difference in pain measured according to the Visual Analog Scale (P = 0.082).

Conclusion: Warmed saline was more comfortable and soothing than room temperature saline as a wound irrigant among patients with linear lacerations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lacerations / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sodium Chloride / therapeutic use*
  • Temperature*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / adverse effects*


  • Sodium Chloride