Keeping Surgical Patients Warmer Fights Infection
As recently as the mid-1990s, doctors thought it was perfectly normal that body temperature went down during surgery. Operating rooms were cold, and the operations themselves increased heat loss. What's more, anesthetic medicines impair the body's ability to control its temperature and sometimes produce hypothermia.
Challenging conventional wisdom, anesthesiologist Dan Sessler found that just a few degrees of body cooling tripled the risk of surgical wound infection. His research led to a new conclusion: Keep surgical patients warm.
No new drugs, no fancy technology. Warming patients during an operation can be as simple as blowing heated air through a disposable, quilt-like covering.
Sessler has also discovered that giving surgical patients additional oxygen can lower the risk of wound infections.
Sessler has found simple, risk-free and inexpensive interventions that improve patient health after surgery.