Comparing forced-air to resistive-polymer warming for perioperative temperature management: a retrospective study

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Brian Lindsey Lupo (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Shawn Collins

Abstract: Background: Forced-air warming and resistive-polymer heating blankets are both popular devices used to prevent inadvertent hypothermia in the perioperative patient. There are differing reports in the literature as to which method is most efficacious. We performed a retrospective, quasi-experimental study to compare the effectiveness of these devices at warming patients intraoperatively. The institution where the data were collected had switched from a forced-air to a resistive-polymer device for trial period, which provided a natural experiment for this study. Methods: In this study, we collected data from 426 patients that had elective, non-spine orthopedic procedures. Data were extracted from electronic medical records on patients who received forced-air warming (n = 119) and on patients who were warmed with resistive-polymer heating blankets (n = 307). The documented intraoperative temperatures were used as the outcome measures for determining inadvertent perioperative hypothermia, final temperature, and temperature changes throughout the case. Results: This study found that the use of forced-air warming was associated with a significantly higher final intraoperative temperature (p = .001, d = .46) compared with the resistive-polymer heating blanket as a means of perioperative temperature management of non-spine, orthopedic patients. The incidence of hypothermia was not found to be significantly different between the groups at the final temperature (p = .102) or at anytime throughout surgery (p = .270). The forced-air warming group had a lower incidence of hypothermia at the end of the case among those that started hypothermic compared to the resistive heating group (p = .023). There was a moderate strength of association between the use of forced-air warming and a positive rise in temperature from the starting to final temperature (p = .001, r = .22). However, no causal relationship between warming device and temperatures or hypothermia incidence should be assumed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
anesthesia, inadvertent perioperative hypothermia, intraoperative complication, perioperative care, thermal comfort, thermoregulation
Hypothermia -- Prevention
Body temperature -- Regulation

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