Quite commonly, when patients are in the OR for longer than an hour, some form of whole body warming may need to be used to maintain normothermia.Reasons for Maintaining Normothermia
Research has shown that unless steps are taken to keep patients warm, the core body temperature of patients who are anesthetized and in the OR for longer than one hour can fall by between 1 °C and 3 °C. This is caused by a combination of low ambient temperatures in the OR and the body's impaired thermoregulatory ability due to the effects of anesthesia. Under these conditions, the risk of surgical infection may be significantly higher, blood loss may increase and the time for recovery following surgery may be longer. Consequently, some form of whole body warming is needed to maintain normothermia.
A common method of whole body warming is through the distribution of warm air to the patient through specially perforated plastic blankets. While this method is effective and popular, two crucial elements are required;
- The first is to ensure that the air currents are minimized, and
- The second is that bacterial contaminants are not introduced into the sterile surgical area.
Minimizing Air Currents in the OR
It is vitally important that extreme steps are taken to prevent surgical site infections. A factor that has been shown to increase the risk of infection is uncontrolled air currents transferring bacteria into the surgical site. This is why unnecessary air movement in the OR is discouraged.Hypothermia and Pressure Sores
It is equally important for the air in the OR to be as free of microbial contaminants as possible. This is the reason that high-efficiency filters are needed to condition the air in the OR and also for the warm air blankets used to maintain patient normothermia. It is essential that bacteria in the warm air supply is reduced as far as possible.
Choosing A Safe Warm Air Solution
Cincinnati Sub-Zero (CSZ) is a leading supplier of normothermia products. The company supplies the well known WarmAir® convective warming system designed to operate with its FilteredFlo® convective warming blankets. This unit is fitted with a high-efficiency warm air filter and, in product testing performed by Nelson Laboratories, it was shown that these filters removed an average of 97 percent of bacteria compared to 77 percent for a leading competitors' products. Additionally, it was also shown that disruptive air flow through the FilteredFlo® blankets was negligible.
Contact us here or call us at 1-800-989-7373 to arrange for a demonstration of this remarkable product.