H.10A Improved Perioperative Warming
Intraoperative hypothermia is common due to vasodilation from anesthesia, cold operating rooms, reduced clothing, and exposed skin and tissue. Even mild hypothermia has been associated with higher blood pressure, reduced wound healing, increased infection, increased heart attacks, and altered drug metabolism. Multiple studies have shown that preoperative warming, in addition to intraoperative warming, significantly reduces the incidence of intraoperative hypothermia.
The current option for preoperative warming revolves mostly around forced air warming with the 3M Bair Hugger system. This attaches to a gown and fills it with warm flowing air. While effective, it can be a loud system that disrupts patient conversation, requires a secondary pump to attach to the gown, and is often forgotten by nurses when preparing a patient for surgery. Furthermore, it has to be turned off and detached when the patient is wheeled to the operating room. Finally, these systems are often not present in the postoperative recovery area, which further reduces their utilization.
The goal of this project is to design an alternative preoperative warming system that increases compliance with both patients and nursing staff prior to surgery. Ideally it would function for at least 30 minutes, would not require significant capital equipment investment, and could be used in the postoperative recovery area as well.