Although the results of this study provide too limited a database for establishing definitive guidelines for practice, they underscore the need for critical care nurses to focus observations on patients' responses to iced fluid restriction. It is important to determine whether and to what extent limiting ingestion of iced fluids induces patient stress, a factor that alone can create physiologic conditions conductive to the occurrence of arrhythmias. Further, in view of the importance of maintaining fluid balance in cardiac patients, it would also be of interest to learn whether iced fluid restriction significantly alters fluid intake. Observations that derive from clinical practice, such as those described above, can stimulate and guide future research designed to evaluate more extensively the efficacy of this coronary precaution.

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