Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Special Edition: Anesthesia - July 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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There's plenty of research that shows the clinical risks associated with not adequately warming patients. We wanted to know if pre- warming patients helps keep them normothermic during and after surgery. That's what we set out to measure with our small, in-house study that was conducted over a four-week period. The first thing we did was prewarm patients for 30 minutes in cot- ton blankets warmed to 130°F. To be clear, we would have loved to use active warming measures in pre-op, but our budget couldn't han- dle the investment. We instead opted for the warmed blankets because our hospital already owned two refrigerator-sized warming units, and they were at our disposal. During the intra-op phase, we used forced-air warming, warmed IV fluids and warmed irrigation fluid (at the time of surgical site irriga- tion). Warmed blankets were draped on patients during transport to the PACU. We took and documented patients' temperatures in pre-op, when they entered the OR and PACU, and 30 minutes after arrival in recov- ery. Of the 63 patients included in the study, 20% were hypothermic in pre-op, 32% in the OR, 41% in PACU and 7% after 30 minutes in recov- ery. These percentages were all well below 70%, the national average of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia in 2018. In the end, we saw $2.35 million in potential savings from the study. We analyzed the previous year's patient data (2017) and compared it to the time period we measured for our study. In 2017, documentation showed a staggering 70% (15,434) of the 22,049 procedures for which we had data included a hypothermic incident. These incidents cost an average of $7,000 per case, according to literature review. We applied the $7,000 figure to the 15,434 cases with hypothermic incidents and added it to the savings realized by shorter lengths of stay in our hospi- tal — reducing hypothermic incidents would save 2.6 days of J U L Y 2 0 2 0 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 3 7

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