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Cooling intravenous fluids by refrigeration: implications for therapeutic hypothermia
  1. Y M Kamel,
  2. P Jefferson,
  3. D R Ball
  1. Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Dumfries, UK
  1. Dr Y Moustafa Kamel, Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Trust, Armthorpe Road, Doncaster DN2 5LT, UK; y2m2kamel{at}


Background: ILCOR recommend the use of therapeutic hypothermia (32–34°C) for 12–24 h in unconscious adult patients with spontaneous circulation after cardiac arrest with a VF rhythm. Among various methods of inducing hypothermia, the rapid infusion of ice-cold intravenous fluid has been used.

Methods: To investigate the time required to cool intravenous fluids in a domestic refrigerator and freezer, bags of compound sodium lactate were placed on the upper shelf of a refrigerator. Continuous temperature measurement was performed for 2 h for 10 500 ml and 10 1000 ml bags. The procedure was then repeated in the freezer.

Results: The mean time for 500 ml bags to cool to 4°C or below was 90 minutes or more in a refrigerator and 60–90 minutes in the freezer. 1000 ml bags are cooled to 4°C or below within 120 minutes in the freezer, but it takes longer in a refrigerator.

Conclusion: As induced hypothermia should be started as soon as possible in eligible patients, crystalloids should be stored in a refrigerator.

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  • Competing interests: None.