Recent A & A study: “These findings warrant future research into the effects of forced air warming…during contamination-sensitive surgery.”

August 2013  Research in the August edition of Anesthesia & Analgesia, a publication of the International Anesthesia Research Society, and appearing under the name of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation stated: “[F]orced air warming was found to establish convection currents that mobilized resident air from nonsterile areas (under the anesthesia drape) upward and into the surgical site.” The clinical concern, according to the article, is that the convection currents created by Bair Hugger will mobilize contaminants and/or impede the ventilation systems’ ability to clear contaminants from the surgical site.  The concerns, they stated, “are most relevant for smaller airborne particles…such as free-floating bacteria [...]

AANA Journal: 96% of Bair Hugger Blowers Contaminated

August 2013 Research published in the August issue of AANA Journal revealed that 96% of Bair Hugger forced-air warming (FAW) blowers studied were generating “significant levels of contamination.”  The researchers, including two UK orthopedic surgeons, measured up to 110,000 particles per cubic foot--82,500 particles per second.  More than 70% of the blowers “had hose-end airflows with higher contamination levels than in intake airflows.” The contaminates, therefore, were incubated inside the Bair Hugger blowers. The problem, researchers concluded, arises from the blowers’ inadequate air filtration. Originally designed to provide 93.8% efficient intake filtration, the current-model Bair Hugger filters perform at only 63.8% efficiency.  This poor filtration, [...]

By |January 16th, 2014|0 Comments

“Wave” of Bair Hugger Litigation?

A news article published in Clinical Quality & Infection Control, a publication of Becker’s ASC Review, stated: “Recent studies published in medical journals questioning the safety of forced-air patient warming in orthopedic implant and other ultra-clean surgeries could mean a wave of new litigation.” The studies, said the writer, show that forced-air blowers contain internally generated airborne contaminates and microorganisms that “could contaminate the surgical site….” The journal did not mention Bair Hugger by name, but the device constitutes more than 90% of the forced-air warming (FAW) systems used by hospitals in the United States. FAW systems blow heated air through a [...]

Infection Guidance: Air Turbulence in Operating Room Increases Risk of Orthopedic Infection

In its Guide to the Elimination of Orthopedic Surgical Site Infections, the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) states, “If airflow is interrupted, rapid air turbulence can stir settled particles, enabling them to become airborne thus increasing the risk for wound contamination.” By applying recent research to APIC’s Guidance, found that forced-air warming systems violate APIC’s Guidance “by drawing potentially contaminated particles from below the operating table into the surgical site.”    Minneapolis, MN July 25, 2013 According to the Association of Professionals in Infection Control (APIC), the maintenance of uninterrupted, downward airflow during orthopedic surgery is “vitally [...]

New ECRI Guidance Expresses “Concern” About Forced-Air Warming in Implant Surgery

In the latest issue of Health Devices, ECRI Institute analyzed the safety of forced-air patient warming, concluding that thermal currents are “particularly worrisome” in implant surgery. Dr. Scott Augustine, inventor of both Bair Hugger and (air-free) HotDog patient warming and CEO of Augustine Temperature Management, comments. Minneapolis, MN (PRWeb), April 17, 2013 -  After reviewing multiple published, peer-review articles addressing the consequences of the convection currents created by the waste heat produced by forced-air devices, ECRI stated: “The disruption of air-flow patterns is particularly worrisome in laminar-flow and ultraclean ORs, in which a wide variety of implant surgeries are performed.” “This [...]

Video Evidence of the Vortex Caused by the Radiant Waste Heat from FAW Blankets

The video clip below is an excerpt from a nurse education course.  It shows the vortex-effect caused by the radiant waste heat from forced-air patient warming (FAW) blankets, similar to what was recently studied and published by orthopedic surgeons A.J. Legg and A.J.Hamer. The Legg and Hamer study, published in the Bone & Joint Journal in March 2013, is different than the four previous studies examining the unintended consequence of FAW.  Studies by Belani, Dasari, McGovern and a previous study by Legg all showed the mass effect of waste heat forming thermals under the drapes and rising from the floor to the surgical field.  The [...]

Study: Contamination Increased 2000x With Bair Hugger Warming

Minneapolis, MN: March 14, 2013— The use of Bair Hugger forced-air warmers during surgery creates convection currents that capture particles below the surgical table, lifting them into the sterile surgical field, according to research recently published by orthopedic surgeons. The waste heat radiating through the surgical drape induced the formation of tornado-like vortexes of rapidly spinning air near the surgical site. The vortexes sucked contaminated air from the operating room floor and deposited it over the surgical wound. 2,000 times more contaminant particles were found in the air over the wound with Bair Hugger warming than with air-free HotDog conductive warming. [...]

The Paradox of Forced-Air Patient Warming

Studies show that forced-air warming (FAW) reduces soft-tissue surgical infections. How can FAW be linked to increased deep-joint infections? The paradox is easy to explain: BIOFILM.  A bacterium that lands on a prosthetic implant can secrete a coating of biofilm that protects it from both antibodies and antibiotics. Bacteria in soft-tissue cannot form effective biofilm coatings. Secretion of biofilm allows a single airborne germ to cause a deep infection of a joint implant (Lidwell, 1983).  When the germ lands on the new implant, it protects itself in a biofilm coating and then sprouts weeks-to-months later as a catastrophic deep joint infection.  [...]

Evidence of the risks of forced-air warming just keeps growing.

A study published online ahead of print in Anesthesia & Analgesia concludes that forced-air patient warming produces waste heat that disrupts operating room ventilation airflows over the surgical site, transporting non-sterile air to the area and hindering the ventilation system’s ability to clear potential airborne contaminants. “There are some in our industry that would like you to believe that hot air doesn’t rise,” says Dr. Scott Augustine, “this study proves, once again, that that argument is insulting to science and common sense.” Belani, et al, focused on contamination-sensitive surgery at the University of Minnesota, using a mannequin draped for total [...]

3M accuses Augustine of “instilling fear through misleading claims.” Really? Let’s look at the facts…

Four independent peer reviewed studies have been published showing that forced-air patient warming devices generate convection currents that disrupt the sterile field.  One such study (McGovern, JBJS-br, 2011) even showed a 74% decrease in deep-joint infection rates after discontinuing the use of forced-air patient warming. They switched to air-free HotDog patient warming (1250 patients, 2.5 years). Despite this strong evidence, 3M, the manufacturer of Bair Hugger® forced-air warming, has continued to obfuscate and assure the world that its forced-air warming products are universally safe.  In a recent letter to healthcare professionals, Bob Buehler, VP of 3M Patient Warming, even accuses us [...]

By |May 24th, 2012|0 Comments


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