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 latest study is unique because it shows that the radiant heat travels through the drapes, interacts with the downward flow of air from the ceiling ventilation, and forms vortices that suck contaminated air from the floor.  Legg and Hamer discovered 2,000x more contaminant particles at the surgical site when FAW was used than when air-free HotDog patient warming was used.

This is especially concerning in orthopedic surgery, where airborne contaminants can cause devastating deep-joint infections.

As you’re watching the short video clip, notice the tight-spinning vortex captured by orthopedic surgeons in Northumbria, UK, towards the end.