2.1.Characteristics of technologies and products for preventing and treating postoperative hypothermia
Due to some reasons, for example, exposure to cold operating room temperature, a patient will have the possibility of experiencing post-operative hypothermia. Hypothermia is a frequent occurrence during major surgical procedures (4) where body temperature falls below 36 degrees.
Major postoperative complications such as cardiac, arrhythmias, respiratory failure, sepsis, dehiscence, and death have been associated with hypothermia (5, 6). Studies have shown that there is a direct positive co-relationship between the duration of postoperative hypothermia and patient mortality (3). Thus it is important to prevent occurrence of hypothermia and reduce the duration of postoperative hypothermia. Since the occurrence is common with 60% to 80% postoperative recovery room patients clinically hypothermic and it is related to major complications (e.g. Death), this condition will be a serious concern for hospitals and medical specialists.
Various methods were utilized in hospitals to prevent or treat postoperative hypothermia. These methods includes heating pads, heating lamps, heated humidiﬁers, circulating-water mattresses, forced-air warming blankets, bags of warm intravenous ﬂuids, and warm plastic bottles with pads (5). Other internal warming technologies are drug therapy, warmed intravenous fluid and inspiring heated and humidified air.
Although there are many ways for prevention and treatment, some of the methods are not so ideal in terms of efficiency, safety and cost effectiveness.
Comparison between technologies and products are shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Comparison between
Post-operative Hypothermia Technologies
Surface – Warming Technologies
Warmed Hospital Blanket-Simple
-Provide only insulation,
-Require patient's own body heat for regenerating warmth
Water Circulating-Encloses 85% to 90% of the surface area-Heavy, Expensive, cause burns on pressure points Electric Blanket-Unacceptable due to risk of burns and explosion in areas Thermal Drapes-Simple
-Inexpensive-Merely insulates, do not transfer heat
-Only 60% surface area enclosed
Infrared Heating Lamps-Ideal for infant use
-Illuminate the patient for observation or therapy-Skin needs to be exposed, modesty prevents widespread use among adults -Heats up the entire recovery room
Partial Warm water immersion-Quick heat transfer
-Simple-Inconvenient to set up
-Requires close monitor which increases labor cost,
-Increase risk of bacteria growth
Increase Room temperature-Simple
-Inexpensive-Not acceptable to nurses and doctors
-Increase risk of infection
Air-Circulating Blankets and Mattress-Safe
-Effective-Not widely found
Internal – Warming Technologies
Inspiring heated and humidified air-Effective-Only applicable to intubated patients -Increase risk of infection
Warmed intravenous fluid-Introduce warmth directly to circulatory system -Effective-Requires very close monitoring and high physician involvement Drug Therapy-Diminish the sensation of cold
-Convenient-Do not increase body temperature,
-Slows down patients' recovery from anesthesia and surgery
From Figure 1, it could be seen that the market for technologies were not advanced enough to provide low cost, high efficient, safety treatment for postoperative hypothermia.
Method such as Drug Therapy is not very efficient as it does not completely solve the problem of hypothermia as it only diminish the sensation of cold and not increasing the body temperature. Furthermore, patients’ may get burnt due to excessive transfer of heat during the some other treatment (e.g. Water Circulating) while some technology required close monitoring by nurses and high...