Thermal suit connected to a forced-air warming unit for preventing intraoperative hypothermia: A randomised controlled trial

Sirkka-Liisa Lauronen, Marja-Tellervo Mäkinen, Päivi Annila, Heini Huhtala, Arvi Yli-Hankala, Maija-Liisa Kalliomäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Inadvertent intraoperative hypothermia is a common occurrence in surgical patients. A thermal suit is an option for passive insulation. However, active warming is known to be more effective. Therefore, we hypothesised that a forced-air warming (FAW) unit connected to the thermal suit is superior to a commercial FAW blanket and a warming mattress in breast cancer surgery.

METHODS: Forty patients were randomised to this prospective, clinical trial to wear either the thermal suit or conventional hospital clothes under general anaesthesia. The Thermal suit group had a FAW unit set to 38°C and connected to the legs of the suit. The Hospital clothes group had a lower body blanket set to 38°C and a warming mattress set to 37°C. Core temperature was measured with zero-heat-flux sensor. The primary outcome was core temperature on admission to the recovery room.

RESULTS: There was no difference in mean core temperatures at anaesthetic induction (P = .4) or on admission to the recovery room (P = .07). One patient in the Thermal suit group (5%) vs six patients in the Hospital clothes group (32%) suffered from intraoperative hypothermia (P = .04, 95% CI 1.9%-49%). Mean skin temperatures (MSTs) were higher in the Thermal suit group during anaesthesia. No burns or skin irritations were reported. Two patients in the Thermal suit group sweated.

CONCLUSIONS: A thermal suit connected to a FAW unit was not superior to a commercial FAW blanket, although the incidence of intraoperative hypothermia was lower in patients treated with a thermal suit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-181
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Volume65
Issue number2
Early online date25 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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