Background: Fluid warming, recommended for fluid rates of > 500 ml h-1, is an integral part of patient temperature management strategies. Fluid warming devices using an uncoated aluminium containing heating element have been reported to liberate aluminium resulting in critical aluminium concentrations in heated fluids. We investigated saline solution (0.9%), artificially spiked with organic acids to determine the influence of fluid composition on aluminium release using the uncoated enFlow® device. Additionally, the Level1® as a high volume fluid warming device and the ThermoSens® device were investigated with artificial spiked fluid at high risk for aluminum release and a clinically used crystalloid solution.
Results: Saline solution spiked with lactate more than acetate, especially at a non neutral pH, led to high aluminium release. Next to the enFlow® device, aluminium release was observed for the Level1® device, but not for the coated ThermoSens®-device.
Conclusion: Uncoated aluminium containing fluid warming devices lead to potentially toxic levels of aluminium in heated fluids, especially in fluids with non-neutral pH containing organic acids and their salts like balanced electrolyte solutions.
Keywords: Fluid warming; Hypothermia; Prevention; Warming techniques.