According to the National Institute of Healthcare Excellence, almost 50,000 people are affected by surgical site infections (SSIs) each year in England.
A result of microorganisms and bacteria, making their way into our bodies via surgical incisions. SSIs are not pleasant, causing patients to be in pain and their hospital beds for longer.
Not only is this outcome understandably not ideal for patients, but it also adds to the already high costs of postoperative patient care.
However, infections are preventable and there are ways to reduce patient risk.
For example, WHO recommends that maintaining a core body temperature of 36 degrees throughout and after surgery plays a crucial factor in preventing infection.
Patients with mild hypothermia are three times more likely to develop an SSI. And, with 70% of surgical patients experiencing hypothermia after surgery each year, it’s clear that traditional methods of maintaining normothermia are not working effectively.
A forced-air warming device (FAW) is routinely used to maintain a patient’s body temperature. But, several studies raise concerns about the potential for FAW to increase the risk of infection, due to the method’s effect on laminar flow, as well as the direct bacterial contamination of the machine’s hose.
Resistive heat mattresses are sometimes used; however, this approach isn’t suitable for certain types of surgery – such as spine surgery where the patient lies on two cushioned supports.
Searching for a suitable alternative, Robert Jones Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (RJAH) conducted a trial of Orvecare’s ORVEWRAP+®, comparing the method to use of FAW devices.
ORVEWRAP+® is a unique six-layer laminate patient warming blanket that is used to maintain a patient in a normothermic (36 degrees) state from patient content, right through to recovery.
Capturing the body heat before an anaesthetic is administered to a patient, ORVEWRAP+ distributes and maintains the body’s temperature during and after surgery. The simple blanket design of ORVEWRAP+® passively warms patients without requiring a secondary heat source, preventing redistribution temperature drop and heat loss from uncovered extremities.
The study at RJAH involved 50 consecutive patients undergoing various spine surgeries. The control group consisted of 40 lumbar and ten anterior cervical surgeries, compared to the treatment group who used ORVEWRAP+®, which was made up of 43 lumbar surgeries, six anterior cervical surgeries and one anterior lumbar surgery.
The average procedure time for the group who used ORVEWRAP+® was 191 minutes, while the control group’s average was 163 minutes.
During each surgery, precautions were taken to minimise the exposure and heat loss. Once turned onto the cushions, the patients had their exposed areas outside of the surgical field covered with warm cloth blankets. An ORVEWRAP+® warming blanket was cut in two and placed over the thorax and lower limbs.
ORVEWRAP+® can be cut and shaped to each patient, without compromising its thermal properties.
“This evaluation demonstrated that, in spine surgery, the use of an ORVEWRAP+® warming blanket can achieve a high degree of compliance with the WHO standard for temperature management,” Dr J. John, RJAH.
Three of the 50 control group patients were found to have temperatures below 36 degrees, with five hyperpyrexial in recovery with a temperature above 37.5 degrees.
For the treatment group who used ORVEWRAP+®, four of the patients dropped below 36 degrees in recovery, but none of them entered a hyperpyrexial state.
“The warming blankets are £13 cheaper than a FAW device and can save £8,000 in our institution,” John adds.
You can read the full study on the Evaluation of an alternative to forced-air warming for temperature management in major spine surgery here.
To find out more about ORVEWRAP+, speak with a member of our team right now.