Prevention of patients’ unintentional perioperative hypothermia

Project title: Influence of the airflow patterns in the operating field on the risk of patients’ unintentional perioperative hypothermia
Project Manager:  dr hab. inż. Anna Bogdan, prof. uczelni
Source of funding: Beyond Pob

Unintentional perioperative hypothermia is one of the common complications associated with
anesthesia and surgery which occurs in about 50-90% of operated patients, whereby the
consequences of its occurrence may affect the safety of the operation as well as the recovery of

Current methods of preventing hypothermia, based on increasing the air temperature in the
operating room, may cause thermal discomfort for surgeons and medical staff. At the same time,
methods of local patient warming are not always effective. Therefore there is a need for further
investigation on methods of maintaining the patient’s body in a state of thermal neutrality,
considering the specific hygienic conditions prevailing in operating rooms.

The aim of the project is to verify the concept of local patient heating using thermal radiation
solutions. It will be checked what configuration of radiator settings, as well as what parameters
of such devices will most effectively affect the warming of the patient’s body with no negative
impact on the thermal comfort of surgeons and medical staff.

The research will be carried out in the WIHIŚ building and in cooperation with the EMPA
laboratory as well as the OR laboratory and St. Olav hospital operating within NTNU.
Stage 1 od project implementation the location and settings of heaters in the operating room will
be optimized. During this stage experts from EMPA and NTNU will be members of the Scientific
Advisory Board and will share their experience and knowledge. Furthermore next tasks of stage
1 will be carried out in laboratory conditions in a specially created for this purpose laboratory in
the WIBHIŚ building, where conditions in operating rooms will be simulated. In the stage 2 of the
project implementation, the verification of the influence of the location and settings of the
heaters on the achievement of safe body temperature of patients will be carried out in EMPA
and NTNU laboratories, where both the quantitative effect of radiant heaters on the human body
will be determined, as well as the solutions will be tested in the conditions during the real-time

Based on the conducted work, a new method and device will be developed that can be used
during selected operations and prevent the risk of unintentional perioperative hypothermia,
which will consequently reduce the risk of postoperative complications as well as the costs of
individual medical procedures and treatment of patients.

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