Technology protects patients from losing body heat during surgery
MAYWOOD, Ill. (June 24, 2014) – Loyola University Health System has established new guidelines to protect burn victims at risk for hypothermia during surgery.
The skin regulates body temperature and when a large portion of skin is burned, the body loses heat. Loyola nurses recognized this threat and established a warming process for burn victims at risk for dangerously low body temperatures.
“Burn victims are in an extreme amount of pain and are at risk for severe complications from their injuries,” said Sharon L. Valtman, RN, BSN, CNOR, the Loyola nurse who initiated the warming process for patients. “It is our job as nurses to listen to our patients and identify ways to ease their discomfort and prevent further health issues."
The warming process Valtman established involves using Bair Hugger® technology to elevate the patients’ body temperature. The device carries warm air through a hose to a blanket that is draped over the patient. Nurses initiate this process in a patient’s hospital room one hour before surgery and continue it during the procedure. Studies have shown that keeping a patient warm during surgery results in less bleeding and faster recovery.
The success of this program led Loyola’s Burn Center and operating room doctors, nurses and staff to adopt this process as hospital protocol for burn patients.
The Loyola Burn Center is one of the busiest in the Midwest, treating nearly 700 patients annually in the hospital, and another 3,500 patients each year in its clinic. The Burn Center provides comprehensive care for adults and children with thermal injuries, electrical burns, chemical injuries, frostbite, toxic epidermal necrolysis, inhalation injuries and complex soft-tissue infections. A multidisciplinary team, which includes resuscitation, pulmonary support, wound management, nutritional support and rehabilitation personnel, provide care in the Burn Center. The Loyola Burn Center was awarded verification by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Burn Association (ABA). This recognition is granted only to those programs that have met and exceeded the ACS and ABA standards and review.