Author(s): Scott EM, Leaper DJ, Clark M, Kelly PJ
Postoperative pressure ulcers are a common and expensive problem. Intraoperative hypothermia also is a common problem and may have a connection with impaired tissue viability. Researchers in this study hypothesized that intraoperative control of hypothermia may reduce the incidence of postoperative pressure ulcers. A randomized clinical trial (n = 338) was used to test the effects of using forced air warming therapy versus standard care. Results indicated an absolute risk reduction in pressure ulcers of 4.8\% (i.e., 10.4\% to 5.6\%) with a relative risk reduction of 46\% in patients who received warming therapy. Although not reaching statistical significance, the clinical significance of almost halving the pressure ulcer rate is important. A correlation between body temperature and postoperative pressure ulcers was established.