3M Bair Hugger manufactures and sells a forced air warming blankets that are used during implant surgeries nationwide. The blanket helps patients who are under anesthesia regulate their body temperature while it prevents hypothermia. Using a surgical hose, the system forces hot air into the disposable blanket draped over the patient’s larger body areas during surgery. The warming blanket has been used by many surgeons during millions of surgical procedures each year as a way to reduce the chance of hypothermia, when the patient loses body heat at a rate faster than it can be produced.
While designed to reduce the potential risks of developing an infection, the device might actually cause an infection by blowing highly contaminated bacteria-laden air from the tainted floor area into the patient’s opened surgical site. The potential risk of developing an infection is especially severe for individuals undergoing artificial heart valve implant surgery or joint replacement surgeries including knee and hip replacements.
The Inventor Speaks Out