In children with sickle cell disease treated for vasoocclusive episodes (VOEs), it is unknown if the temperature of infused fluids impacts clinical outcomes. We compared infusions of warmed and nonwarmed saline for treatment of VOE. We also assessed the tolerability and feasibility of infusing warmed saline in patients with VOEs.
Patients aged 4 to 21 years with sickle cell disease presenting to the emergency department with VOE were randomized to infusions of warmed (37.5°C, experimental arm) versus nonwarmed (22°C–24°C, controls) saline. Intravenous opioids were administered according to previously established guidelines. We compared hospital admission rates, pain scores, disposition times, dosages of opioid, and comfort.
Eighty of 92 visits were eligible (40 per arm). The mean age of enrollees was 14 years, and 53% were female. Hospital admission rates were comparable (63% experimental arm and 55% control arm, P = 0.5). Pain score reduction (−2.9 and −2.6, P = 0.52), median morphine equivalents (0.23 mg/kg and 0.25 mg/kg, P = 0.58), and mean treatment-to-disposition times (158 minutes and 155 minutes, P = 0.85) were also similar. Global comfort was higher in children who received warmed saline (4 vs 3, P = 0.01). There were no adverse events reported in patients who received warmed saline.
It is feasible and tolerable to infuse warmed saline for the treatment of VOE, and it is well tolerated. Patient comfort was higher in those patients who received warmed saline, but there was no improvement in admission rates, disposition times, pain scores, and opioid dosages.