FAQ: Surgical Site Infections and the 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System.

December 7, 2016 3M Canada

Doctors with Patient using patient warming

Patients undergoing surgery are incredibly vulnerable. In a world of risk factors, you depend on evidence to help provide them with the best outcomes.

But when it comes to patient warming, do you have all of the facts? Find the answers to your top questions here.

How prevalent are surgical site infections?

About one of every 100 patients develops an infection after surgery*. Rates will vary depending on the type of surgery and the patient’s risk factors.

What causes a surgical site infection?

Many factors can cause a surgical site infection. Everyone has bacteria in their bodies. The majority of surgical site infections come from the patient’s own bacteria.

When the skin is opened, bacteria in the body can migrate to the surgical wound. A number of factors are known to increase the risk of surgical site infections, including having other medical problems or diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, being elderly, or overweight and smoking.

What is the 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System?

The 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System is used to keep patients warm before, during, and after surgery.

The system draws in the filtered air of the operating room, passes it through an internal filter and warms that air to the selected temperature.

The warmed air flows to a single-use 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Warming Blanket through an enclosed hose, and is then gently dispersed across the surface of the skin.

The 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System does not disrupt the air flow in the operating room.


How does the 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System affect the risk of surgical infection?

A widely accepted practice for reducing the risk of infection is to maintain a surgical patient’s core body temperature greater than 36° C (96.8° F) throughout the surgical procedure. Keeping people warm during surgery can, in fact, reduce the risk of infections, reduce the length of hospital stays and improve overall outcomes from surgery.

Numerous healthcare professional organizations have recommended the use of forced-air warming to safely and effectively maintain a patient’s normal body temperature during surgery*.

Can the 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System cause infections?

No. There is no evidence that the 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System forced-air warming causes infections.

In fact, scientific literature suggests that maintaining normal body temperature during surgery can have numerous benefits that include a reduction in the rate of postoperative infections, reduced blood loss, a reduction in the possibility of heart attacks, shorter recovery times and lower mortality rates*.

The 3M™ Bair Hugger™ Patient Warming System is a safe and effective method of maintaining normal body temperature during surgery.

Where can I learn more?

If you are a patient, talk to your health care professional about the importance of forced-air warming for your surgery.

If you are a professional and would like to speak with a 3M Health Care Technical Specialist, fill in the form below.


About the Author

3M Canada

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