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Although convective warning therapy is effective in preventing hypothermia in anesthetized patients, little is known concerning the potential risks of its use. Hence, this balanced cross-over study was designed to determine if the use of convective warming therapy increased the risk of wound contamination. For 4 h, eight healthy male volunteers (aged 20--25 yr) lay supine on an operating room table with their lower bodies and legs covered with a warming cover and sterile surgical drape. The convective warming therapy was administered for 2 h. The other 2 h served as the control. In each session, culture plates were placed directly on the subject's abdomen through an opening in the drape. Tympanic membrane and leg skin temperatures were significantly higher with active warming. No significant differences in the number of bacterial colonies were observed between the two study periods. It was concluded that convective warming therapy, when appropriately applied, does not increase the risk for airborne bacterial wound contamination in the operating room.

(C) 1993 International Anesthesia Research Society