Hypothermia is defined as core body temperature less than 35°C. Hypothermia is a common finding in polytrauma and contributes to increased morbidity and mortality along with acidosis and coagulopathy. Heat loss usually occurs due to radiation, conduction, evaporation and convection. Maintaining normal body temperature is important when managing polytrauma patients to reduce the likelihood of the lethal triad cycle.
Maintaining normal body temperature in polytrauma patients
Active warming of hypothermic patient
Patient Factors & Considerations
DO NOT open the outer protective package until ready to use, activation will start immediately once opened.
DO NOT place the Ready-Heat blanket directly on exposed skin. Cover patient with sheet and then apply the heat blanket.
The Ready – Heat blanket will reach 40⁰C in 15-20 minutes and maintain heat for up to 10 hours.
Careful supervision is required for use in elderly and patients who are incapable of regulating/reacting to heat (unconscious, diabetic)
DO NOT fold blanket while on patient as this may cause heat to increase, rather slide or remove blanket to access patient.
DO NOT open sealed pockets.
When ready to use, remove protective outer packaging.
Unfold the Ready-Heat blanket, exposure to air will activate warming automatically.
Place the blanket on the patient with sticker facing down, towards the body.
Cover the Ready-Heat blanket with standard blanket or sheet.
Monitor patient comfort level if possible to do so.
Hand over to receiving hospital that the Ready- Heat blanket is being used
Normal core temperature maintained
Remove blanket if it becomes too hot or if the patient becomes too warm.
Disposal procedure – Fold Ready- Heat blanket and place back into outer protective package. Dispose of in regular waste or clinical waste if soiled.
Kadapamannil D, Rajan S. Hypothermia in prehospital polytrauma victims: an overlooked companion. Research and Opinion in Anesthesia and Intensive Care. 2020 Oct 1;7(4):223.