Active warming as emergency interventional care for the treatment of pelvic pain


Dr K Hoerauf, Department of Anesthesiology and General Intensive Care, University Hospital of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. Email


Objective  To assess whether local active warming can lessen acute pelvic pain of gynaecological origin compared with traditional methods in a prehospital setting.

Design  Prospective, randomised, single-blinded study.

Setting  Prehospital emergency system.

Population  Women calling emergency ambulance for pelvic pain.

Methods  Women were randomised in two groups: resistive heating (group 1) or passive warming (group 2), each treatment was initiated at the emergency site.

Main outcome measures  Pain on visual analogue scale (VAS), anxiety and nausea, given as mean (SD).

Results  Prior to the interventions, all women were vasoconstricted and had comparable pain scores. Then, group 1 showed a significant (P < 0.01) reduction in pain (VAS: 72.2 [10.5] mm to 32.4 [18.0] mm), anxiety (VAS: 59.0 [10.9] mm to 37.5 [24.1] mm), nausea (VAS: 42.7 [6.2] mm to 21.6 [5.0] mm) and heart rate (101 [12] beats per minute [bpm] to 59 [8] bpm), as well as in the number of vasoconstricted women (from 19/19 constricted/dilated to 2/19 constricted/dilated), whereas scores in group 2 remained unchanged. There were no significant changes in blood pressure in either group.

Conclusions Local warming is an effective emergency care measure for acute pelvic pain.