Hospital Gowns Go High-Tech

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Bair Paws® system addresses decades-old problems of cold, exposure

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Unintended perioperative hypothermia is easier to prevent than treat, and prevention needs to begin in the preoperative setting before the induction of anesthesia.

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For more than 50 years, patient modesty has been a concern with traditional cotton gowns. These threadbare, stained staples of healthcare do little to cover or provide warmth, leaving already anxious patients exposed and cold.

Now, a high-tech hospital gown is not only fully covering patients, but actively warming them, too.

“The Bair Paws system represents the first significant advance in hospital gowns in decades,” said Julie Wick-Powell, senior product manager for the Bair Paws system’s creator, Arizant Healthcare Inc. “It’s one of those ‘Why didn’t anyone think of this before?’ kind of solutions.”

The single-use Bair Paws gown offers wrap-around coverage and soft, thick material. Beyond offering good coverage, the gown is part of a system providing both comfort and clinical warming capabilities. The gown connects to the system’s warming unit, which blows warm air into the gown through specialized air channels with tiny perforations. Using a handheld controller, patients can adjust the temperature either warmer or cooler, depending on their personal preference.

“I have never, in 30 years of nursing, seen anything that patients immediately appreciated as much as the Bair Paws (system),” said Paula J. Keally, a registered nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in West Lexington, Kentucky. “Patients expect technical expertise from the staff, but what they remember most are the caring things we do.”

The adjustable warmth the system provides not only provides comfort to patients, but clinical benefits as well – including the prevention of unintended hypothermia in many surgical procedures.

Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia has been called the most frequent, preventable complication of surgery1 and is associated with an increased rate of wound infection (SSIs)2, increased length of hospital stay3 and higher mortality rates.4 Surprisingly, it is estimated that only about 26 percent of surgeries deemed to be at risk of unintended hypothermia actually receive active patient warming.5

“Unintended perioperative hypothermia is easier to prevent than treat, and prevention needs to begin in the preoperative setting before the induction of anesthesia.” said Wick-Powell. “Through the simple act of prewarming before surgery, clinicians can reduce core temperature drop by increasing the total heat content of the body. The Bair Paws system is a simple, effective tool to make patients comfortable and reduce the likelihood of hypothermia-related complications.”

One of the greatest causes of surgical hypothermia is the effect of anesthesia induction itself. Studies have shown core hypothermia can develop rapidly in the hour immediately following the induction of anesthesia. Anesthesia causes blood vessels to dilate, allowing the warmer blood from the body’s core to mix with the blood from the cooler periphery. As the blood circulates, it cools until returning back to the heart where it causes a drop in core temperature. Prewarming increases the temperature of peripheral tissues and limits the blood’s rate of cooling as it circulates. This allows the blood to return to the core at a higher temperature.

“Just the fact that we prewarm every patient ensures the speediest recovery we can give them,” said Leslie Decker, O.R. Supervisor at the Surgery Center on Soncy in Amarillo, Texas. “They’ve been prewarmed [with the Bair Paws System] in pre-op and we keep them warm during the surgical procedure with it.”

The Bair Paws system solution
Only the Bair Paws system offers active, patient-adjustable warming capabilities in a patient gown, allowing patients to adjust the temperature to a level that’s right for them. With its clinical capabilities, the Bair Paws warming unit offers prewarming benefits before surgery and can also be used for comfort warming in both pre- and post-op settings. In addition, the gown is fully compatible with Arizant’s Bair Hugger warming units for the demanding clinical needs of the OR and recovery.

About Arizant Healthcare Inc.
Arizant Healthcare Inc., headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is the maker of surgical patient temperature management systems including Bair Hugger® therapy, the Bair Paws® system and Ranger® product lines. Arizant created the category of forced-air warming, which is now the preferred method of warming surgical patients in the U.S. The company designs, manufactures and markets medical devices that provide innovative, practical solutions to common medical problems.

References

1. Kurz A, Sessler DI, et al. Perioperative Normothermia to Reduce the Incidence of Surgical-Wound Infection and Shorten Hospitalization. New England Journal of Medicine, 334: 1209-1215, 1996.

2. Barie, PS. Surgical Site Infections: Epidemiology and Prevention. Surgical Infections. Vol 3, Supplement 2002; S-9 – S-21.

3. Jeran L. American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses Development Panel. Clinical Guideline for the Prevention of Unplanned Perioperative Hypothermia. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing Oct. 2001:Vol 16(5): pp 305-314.

4. Tryba M, Leban J, et al. Does active warming of severely injured trauma patients influence perioperative morbidity? Anesthesiology 1996: 85: A283.

5. Macario A. Data on file at Arizant Healthcare.

6. Sessler DI, Current concepts: mild perioperative hypothermia. N Eng J Med 1997; 336: 1730-1737.

Contact:
Troy Bergstrom
Arizant Healthcare Inc.
(952) 947-1214
tbergstrom(at)arizant.com

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