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 and sending it right up into the surgical site, contaminating it. The evidence speaks for itself: as hot air rises, so does risk.

The Northumbria orthopedic team has set up their own blog to show their findings. With patient safety in mind, they have compiled excellent research and the visual evidence is stunning. To access their blog, click on the following link: