Self-warming blanket versus forced-air warming blanket during total knee arthroplasty under spinal anaesthesia: A randomised non-inferiority trial

Sirkka-Liisa Lauronen, Jarkko Kalliovalkama, Antti Aho, Marja-Tellervo Mäkinen, Heini Huhtala, Arvi M. Yli-Hankala, Maija-Liisa Kalliomäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Arthroplasty patients are at high risk of hypothermia. Pre-warming with forced air has been shown to reduce the incidence of intraoperative hypothermia. There is, however, a lack of evidence that pre-warming with a self-warming (SW) blanket can reduce the incidence of perioperative hypothermia. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an SW blanket and a forced-air warming (FAW) blanket peri-operatively. We hypothesised that the SW blanket is inferior to the FAW blanket. Methods: In total, 150 patients scheduled for primary unilateral total knee arthroplasty under spinal anaesthesia were randomised to this prospective study. Patients were pre-warmed with SW blanket (SW group) or upper-body FAW blanket (FAW group) set to 38°C for 30 min before spinal anaesthesia induction. Active warming was continued with the allocated blanket in the operating room. If core temperature fell below 36°C, all patients were warmed using the FAW blanket set to 43°C. Core and skin temperatures were measured continuously. The primary outcome was core temperature on admission to the recovery room. Results: Both methods increased mean body temperature during pre-warming. However, intraoperative hypothermia occurred in 61% of patients in the SW group and in 49% in the FAW group. The FAW method set to 43°C could rewarm hypothermic patients. Core temperature did not differ between groups on admission to the recovery room, p =.366 (CI: −0.18–0.06). Conclusions: Statistically, the SW blanket was non-inferior to the FAW method. Yet, hypothermia was more frequent in the SW group, requiring rescue warming as we strictly held to the NICE guideline. Trial Registration: identifier: NCT03408197.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1109
Number of pages8
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • BairHugger
  • EasyWarm
  • primary knee replacement

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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