The Unintended Consequence of Forced-Air Patient Warming

The waste air from forced-air warming is actually waste heat. The heat is not vented safely from the OR but instead rises into the ventilation airflow, mobilizing contaminated floor air into the sterile surgical field above the table.

Blog 2018-06-04T19:59:30+00:00

FAW’s Impact on SSIs

“How can forced-air warming be unsafe when research shows that it reduces infections?” This is a common question, and the best explanation was given by Yale scientist Dr. Marc Abreu in the October 2010 Anesthesiology News Review. In the article, titled New Concepts in Perioperative Temperature Management: Monitoring and Management, Dr. Abreu wrote that, “…any potential airborne contamination caused by FAW waste heat must have a negligible effect on soft tissue SSIs. However, patients undergoing surgery involving implanted foreign materials, especially for orthopedics, may be at higher risk for infection from airborne contamination.” (emphasis added) The risk of infection with FAW, at least as established [...]

Latest Evidence of Forced-Air Contamination — Must See

Here is the latest evidence of forced-air warming units contaminating the operating room by overcoming protective laminar flow ventilation. The room temperature tracer particles and bubbles are neutrally buoyant, which is to say they follow the air currents of the room. When forced-air warming units dump 900 watts of waste heat into the operating room, it is no surprise that we can visualize the effects: heat rises. Notice the laminar flow working properly with conductive fabric warming, or with forced-air "Heat OFF" as control. Then with "Heat ON" watch the stunning evidence of forced-air waste heat mobilizing air from the dirty floor [...]

By | February 15th, 2011|0 Comments

Laminar vs. Conventional Ventilation

Common Question: “My OR doesn’t use laminar flow. Does waste hot air still matter?” Answer: Absolutely. Consider the following: What is laminar ventilation and what is conventional ventilation? Operating room air is typically introduced from the ceiling, moves towards the floor, and exits through the side vents. US standards for hospital construction require that operating room ventilation be filtered, at a minimum, to an efficiency of >90% for the removal of germ sized particles. Many ventilation systems do much better than that, by employing High Efficiency Particulate Air filtration commonly known as HEPA, which by definition removes >99.97% of germ sized particles [...]