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In OR patients, how does warming them compared to not doing so affect patient outcomes within their time in post op?

In the operating room, it is necessary for the nurse to monitor the temperature of the patient every 30 minutes. This is because they are at a high risk for hypothermia, which is classified as a core body temperature of 95°F or less. Many factors contribute to this including anesthesia inhibiting the shiver response, cold temperatures inside the OR, having less clothing on, and cold antiseptics being placed on the skin. Perioperative hypothermia is very prevalent with incidence rates ranging from 17.0%-88.6% depending on the type of surgery. It is associated with poor patient outcomes and is typically preventable if interventions are done. This project examines current studies and literature about the benefits of warming patients throughout their perioperative stay, the adverse effects of hypothermia, and the different warming methods that are used. The evidence strongly suggests that warming patients with multiple methods leads to the best outcomes. Decreased body temperature puts the patient at risk for increased bleeding, sepsis, prolonged hospitalization, and many other issues. Keeping the patient normothermic decreases the rate of surgical site infections, shortens length of stay, requires less opioid medication, and quicker incisional healing. This evidence is going to be presented to PACU and OR staff at Baystate Noble Hospital to remind them on the importance of warming patients, and the most effective warming methods based upon current evidence.

Olivia Kowal '22
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