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Would You Operate On This Patient? - October 2015 - 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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1 0 O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E O N L I N E | O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 Does Forced-Air Warming Increase SSI Risk? The inventor of the Bair Hugger now claims it's dangerous. I f we are to believe the allegations in the recent spate of Bair Hugger lawsuits that forced-air warm- ers can cause deep joint infections in orthopedic implant surgery patients by stirring up "contaminated waste heat" from the OR floor and then lifting the air- borne germs alongside the OR table and depositing them into the sterile surgical field, then you should wheel your Bair Huggers into the storage closet and use them as lead apron hangers. But if these lawsuits — more than 20 have been filed at last count in what appears to be a well-organized mass tort litigation — turn out to be a bunch of hot air, then by all means keep doing what you've been doing: warming patients before, during and after surgery to pro- vide comfort and to stave off infection. An odd set of circumstances surrounds the lawsuits. 3M's Bair Hugger has been around since 1987, and has been used to warm more than 200 million patients in surgery centers and hospitals around the world. The world's most popular patient warming device is under attack by none other than Scott D. Augustine, MD, the anesthesiologist who invented it. "We didn't recognize the problem when I was running the company and remarkably over 20 years no one else did either. About 6 years after I left the company, we acciden- tally discovered the unintended conse- quence of forced-air warming," says Dr. Augustine. Today, Dr. Augustine is CEO of Augustine Temperature Management, maker of the air- E D I T O R ' S P A G E Dan O'Connor InstaPoll Can forced-air patient warmers cause surgical site infections? yes 34% no 33% unsure 33% SOURCE: Outpatient Surgery Magazine InstaPoll, September 2015, n=279

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