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Surgery

Warming Patients Before Surgery Cuts Infection Rate

16 years, 8 months ago

3409  0
Posted on Sep 30, 2002, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Warming a patient before they undergo surgery can significantly reduce their risk of developing wound infections, according to a group of UK researchers. A study of 421 patients who underwent "clean" breast, varicose vein or hernia surgery, revealed that the risk of infection could be reduced from 14% to just 5% by simply warming the patients for 30-minutes before the operation.

Warming a patient before they undergo surgery can significantly reduce their risk of developing wound infections, according to a group of UK researchers. A study of 421 patients who underwent "clean" breast, varicose vein or hernia surgery, revealed that the risk of infection could be reduced from 14% to just 5% by simply warming the patients for 30-minutes before the operation. The researchers believe that pre-operative warming could remove the need for controversial prophylactic antibiotics, which are often given to patients after surgery as a safeguard against infection. As well as being potentially fatal, wound infections are expensive to treat. It is estimated that the treatment of post-surgery infections can cost in excess of $2000, thus pre-operative warming could also help to reduce healthcare costs. The team are now conducting a study to determine whether warming patients up after surgery can help to reduce post-operative pain.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Lancet 2001; 358: 876-80

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