Program Schedule

Forced Air Warming (FAW) products and Surgical Site Infections (SSIs)

Session: Poster Abstract Session: Surgical Site Infections
Friday, October 10, 2014
Room: The Pennsylvania Convention Center: IDExpo Hall BC
  • Forced Air Final.pdf (1.0 MB)
  • Introduction: Bair Hugger is a specific product used for forced-air warming and is used to keep a patient warm during surgery by blowing warm air across the surface of the skin. The benefits for maintaining normothermia have been well documented in the literature.

    Background: In August 2013 concerns were raised about a recently published study (Clinical Quality & Infection Control) that suggested a correlation between FAW and SSI caused by aerosolized particulates in air currents. Several other studies had similar findings but none were done in clinical areas. (Camus Y, et al. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 1993; 77(5): pp. 995-9) The objective was to determine if FAW is associated with increase in particulates or bacterial/fungal contamination.

    Methods: Testing was performed during 2 operative cases in 2 separate operating rooms.

    Case 1 - orthopedic spine case

    Case 2 - neurosurgical spine case.

    Continuous air monitoring was done during 3 time periods: Pre patient, patient without FAW, patient with FAW. (See graphs A/B ) and 3 sets of bacterial and fungal cultures were collected and reported as colony forming units (CFUs).


    Continuous air monitoring Particulate Counts



    Bacterial/Fungal Cultures




             There was no difference in particulate counts regardless of whether the FAW was in use.

             There was no difference in Bacterial and fungal CFUs regardless of whether the FAW was in use.

             There were no significant pathogens identified.

             It is unlikely that FAW would have an association SSIs.

    Carlene Muto, MD, MS, FSHEA1, Ashley Querry, BS2, Alison Galdys, MD1 and Sheila Mccool, BSN, MPH, CIC3, (1)Infection Prevention & Hospital Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Presbyterian University Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, (2)Infection Prevention and Control, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, (3)Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology, UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA


    C. Muto, None

    A. Querry, None

    A. Galdys, None

    S. Mccool, None

    Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. EDT, Oct. 8th with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.

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