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AORN J. 2008 Feb;87(2):333-44. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2007.08.021.

Hypothermia/warming protocols: why are they not widely used in the OR?

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  • 1Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL, USA.


Hypothermia, a common problem for patients having surgery, adversely affects multiple organ systems and physiologic functions. Research indicates that maintaining normothermia can reduce infection rates, operative blood loss, and length of hospital stay. Often, preventing hypothermia is not a high priority to surgical staff members because forced-air warming systems may cause field contamination and passive warming may increase the ambient OR temperature. In addition, inconsistent practices and lack of guidelines may affect team members' efforts. Surgical team awareness, education, and understanding of the effects of hypothermia are necessary components to enhance the ways clinicians provide quality, cost-effective patient care.

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