An Observational Study Evaluating Infection Risk in Two Staff Warming Devices and a Review of Current Literature into Thermal Comfort in the Operating Room and Beyond

Abstract

The temperature in operating rooms (OR) is kept low for the comfort of the surgeon and those scrubbed in as they work under exacting conditions, dressed in impervious surgical gowns. This can create an uncomfortable environment for cold-sensitive staff who may turn to warming devices for relief. To ensure staff are not introducing risk to patients through practices like these, this study evaluated bacteria growth from two staff warming devices: the off-label use of a Forced-Air Patient Warming Device and the OPERATIONHEAJAC® TRO (Transformer Only) Heated Torso Belt. Bacteria colonies were analyzed by settle plate method in a mock OR. Analysis showed that the off-label use of a Forced-Air Patient Warming Device significantly increased the average colony forming unit (cfu) rate in the air vs control. With the OPERATIONHEATJAC® TRO, there was an insignificant average cfu rate in the air vs control. The existing literature was then analyzed to discover the potential importance and the current medical opinion on this matter.

Key Words

Warming Devices; HEATJAC, SSIs, Operating Room; Temperature

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