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J Post Anesth Nurs. 1991 Dec;6(6):387-93.

Rewarming postoperative patients: lights, blankets, or forced warm air.


This study was designed to determine if the forced warm air system is more effective than warmed cotton blankets or radiant heat lamps for rewarming postoperative patients. PACU admission temperatures were taken on 370 adult patients. The study population of 90 patients with admission temperatures of 35 degrees C (95 degrees F) or less was randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups: (b) warmed cotton blankets, (L) radiant heat lamps, or (A) forced warm air. Oral or axillary temperatures were monitored every 15 minutes and the warming intervention continued until the patient reached the discharge criteria of 36 degrees C (96.8 degrees F). The three groups were comparable for sex, age, admitting temperature, OR time, and OR fluid. The mean rewarming times for patients who shivered were similar for all groups. For those patients who did not shiver, those treated with forced warm air rewarmed significantly faster than patients in the other groups. Nonshivering patients treated with forced warm air were ready for discharge somewhat sooner than those treated with either of the other two interventions.

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