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Local warming of the hand and lower arm improved successful peripheral venous cannulation and reduced insertion time

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QUESTION: Does local warming of the hand and lower arm facilitate insertion of peripheral venous cannulas?


Randomised (allocation concealed), blinded (clinicians and outcome assessors) controlled trial and randomised (allocation concealed), blinded (clinicians and outcome assessors) crossover trial.


Neurosurgical unit and haematology ward of a university hospital in Vienna, Austria.


100 neurosurgical patients (mean age 53 y, 53% women) who had a physical status score of 1 or 2 (healthy or mild and well controlled systemic disease, American Society of Anesthesiologists) were included in the randomised trial, and 42 patients (mean age 63 y, 52% women) with leukaemia who were scheduled for ≥2 sessions of chemotherapy at least 1 week apart were included in the randomised crossover trial. All neurosurgical patients and 95% of patients with leukaemia were included in the analysis.


Neurosurgical patients were allocated to active warming with …

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  • For correspondence: Dr R Lenhardt, Outcomes Research Institute and Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.rainerlenhardt{at}

  • Sources of funding: National Institutes of Health; Drown Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Commonwealth of Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund, Louisville, KY; Anniversary Fund of the Austrian National Bank. Thermamed, GmbH, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany donated the warming mitt and Mallinckrodt, St Louis, MO donated the thermocouples and thermometers.