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AORN J. 2001 May;73(5):921-7, 929-33, 936-8.

Effects of warming therapy on pressure ulcers--a randomized trial.

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  • 1North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, Stockton, England, United Kingdom.


Postoperative pressure ulcers are a common and expensive problem. Intraoperative hypothermia also is a common problem and may have a connection with impaired tissue viability. Researchers in this study hypothesized that intraoperative control of hypothermia may reduce the incidence of postoperative pressure ulcers. A randomized clinical trial (n = 338) was used to test the effects of using forced air warming therapy versus standard care. Results indicated an absolute risk reduction in pressure ulcers of 4.8% (i.e., 10.4% to 5.6%) with a relative risk reduction of 46% in patients who received warming therapy. Although not reaching statistical significance, the clinical significance of almost halving the pressure ulcer rate is important. A correlation between body temperature and postoperative pressure ulcers was established.

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