Perioperative heat loss is dangerous for OR patients. Prevention of hypothermia

Surgical professionals may be highly experienced, but any kind of medical procedure can be a stressful experience, which can cause a doctor or nurse's temperature to rise. To make sure the staff is comfortable while they work on patients, the temperature in operating rooms is usually lower than other parts of the hospital or surgery center. While the staff may benefit from this, what does a cooler environment mean for patients?

This article describes causes of heat loss, as well as prevention of hypothermia and hypothermia treatment in hospitals.

The Problem: Perioperative heat loss

Perioperative heat loss is a major concern in the operating room (OR). Patients undergoing surgical procedures are at risk of losing heat during surgery, and this condition can lead to various complications such as hypothermia, prolonged hospital stays, and increased healthcare costs. 

The human body maintains a stable core temperature. During surgical interventions, patients are often exposed to cold ambient temperatures, they are put under general anesthesia or even deep sedation, which can further contribute to heat loss. A patient's core temperature typically experiences a sharp fall during the first hour of anesthesia. Additionally, certain surgical procedures may require the use of IV fluids or blood transfusion that lower the patient's body temperature further.

Hypothermia, which is defined as a core body temperature below 35°C (95°F), can occur in up to 70% of surgical patients. Perioperative hypothermia causes:

  • impaired pharmacodynamics,
  • surgical site infections,
  • blood loss and coagulopathy,
  • transfusion requirements,
  • thermal discomfort,
  • prolonged recovery,
  • prolonged duration of hospitalization.

Hypothermia also causes shivering, which can interfere with surgical procedures and increase the risk of complications.

The Solution: Prevention of hypothermia

Prevention of hypothermia and its complications is the best way of action. Patients must be kept warm and normothermic, at a normal body temperature through all perioperative phases: preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative. Depending on the patient's condition, active warming, passive warming, or a combination of the two can be used.

To maintain normothermia, various measures can be taken in the OR. These include, but not limited to, the use of warming blankets and mattresses, pre-warming of blood and intravenous (IV) fluids and other warming devices.

TAHAT produces a wide range of warming devices for hypothermia treatment in a hospital and its prevention: warming systems, blood and fluid warmers, warming cabinets.

AMPIR-01 and AMPIRmini are warmers for infusion solutions, IV fluids, blood and its substitutes. Using Ampir-01 and AMPIRmini in everyday medical practice helps to improve patients' conditions in preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative periods, and reduces complications caused by heat loss.
«RAMONAK-03» is a patient warming system with gel pad. The warmer is effective in prevention of hypothermia and its complications in preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative periods: for example, in surgical patients, as well as in any patient experiencing cold in intensive care conditions.
«Thermo» is a warming cabinet which is used for pre-warming and keeping warm infusion solutions and other fluids, hospital blankets, linen, dressings, paraffin, paraffin mixtures, ozokerite. The cabinet can be installed in the OT, nursing ward, etc.

Perioperative heat loss is a dangerous condition that requires proactive measures. By implementing appropriate measures, healthcare providers can reduce the risk of hypothermia and improve patient outcomes in the OR.

 

 

Reference:

Ruetzler K, Kurz A. Consequences of perioperative hypothermia. Handb Clin Neurol. 2018;157:687-697. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-64074-1.00041-0. PMID: 30459033.

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