The Optimal Time and Method for Surgical Prewarming: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Purpose

Inadvertent hypothermia is a common problem in the operating room. This can contribute to many unfavorable outcomes --rising costs, increased complications, and higher morbidity rates.

Design

This review determined the optimal method and time to prewarm a surgical patient to prevent perioperative hypothermia.

Methods

CINAHL and PubMed were searched. Fourteen articles were ultimately included in this review.

Findings

Based on the literature reviewed, it was suggested that forced-air warming was most effective in preventing perioperative hypothermia. Eighty-one percent of the experimental studies reviewed found that there was a significantly higher temperature throughout surgery and in the postanesthesia care unit for patients who received forced-air prewarming.

Conclusions

Thirty minutes was found to be the average suggested amount of time for prewarming among the literature; however, a minimum of 10 minutes of prewarming was suggested to significantly reduce rates of hypothermia in perioperative patients and decrease the adverse effects of hypothermia.

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