Conductive Skin Warming and Hypothermia: An Observational Study
Victoria M. Steelman, PhD, RN, CNOR, FAAN
Ann G. Schaapveld, BSN, RN
Yelena Perkhounkova, PhD
Jennifer L. Reeve, MSN, RN
John P. Herring, MD
Most surgical patients receiving regional or general anesthesia experience perioperative hypothermia unless effective preventive measures are used. Patient positioning poses a challenge for clinicians using existing technology. The purpose of this study is to describe outcomes of hypothermia after a combination of preoperative and intraoperative conductive skin warming (CSW). This retrospective observational study included 972 adult surgical patients receiving general or neuraxial anesthesia. Clinicians were provided an alternative for perioperative warming, an underbody conductive warming mattress using resistive ink technology (VitaHEAT UB3, VitaHEAT Medical), or the option to use current practice, forcedair warming (FAW). The primary study endpoint was temperature on arrival in the postanesthesia care unit.
Active warming was provided preoperatively with CSW (81.5%) or FAW (0.6%) and intraoperatively with CSW (61.1%), FAW (21.8%), or both (12.1%). Hypothermia occurred in 3.5% of patients overall and in 16.7% of patients when active warming was not used. When CSW was used preoperatively and intraoperatively, 4.1% of patients became hypothermic. When CSW was used preoperatively and FAW was used intraoperatively, 2.3% of patients became hypothermic. When clinicians used active warming methods based on individual patient needs, nearly all patients (96.5%) remained normothermic.
Keywords: Anesthesia, body temperature, hypothermia, intraoperative complication, perioperative care.