3M Bair Hugger Forced-Air Warming Celebrates 25 Years in Hospitals

Legendary technology changed the way surgery was (and still is) done

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Since its inception 25 years ago, forced-air warming technology has grown to become a staple in hospitals around the world, safely warming more than 130 million patients. The amount of scientific evidence behind this technology is overwhelming, with more than 170 published studies documenting the clinical benefits of forced-air warming for maintaining normal body temperature, or normothermia. Today, the technology from Arizant Healthcare Inc., a 3M Health Care company, is used in more than 80 percent of U.S. hospitals and warms more than 50,000 patients each day.

“Before the development of forced-air warming, there was no good way to keep surgical patients warm,” said anesthesiologist Dr. Daniel Sessler. “Forced-air is safe, effective, easy to use and inexpensive. It has thus become the most common way of keeping patients warm during surgery.”

Developed in 1987 as a way to warm patients after surgery, forced-air warming has expanded its reach into the operating room and preoperative environments. 3M™ Bair Hugger™ therapy, now a part of the innovative 3M Infection Prevention portfolio of solutions, was the world’s first forced-air warming system and remains the industry leader. While manufacturers continue to develop new warming methods, none seem to match forced-air warming’s combination of safety, ease-of-use and effectiveness.

Orthopedic surgeon and leading surgical site infection (SSI) researcher Dr. Javad Parvizi recently authored a paper that substantiates the safety of forced-air warming technology.2 This research examines existing literature on forced-air warming’s use in laminar flow operating rooms and affirms forced-air warming as a safe, effective technology for surgical patients. Another recent study was led by Dr. Sessler, concluding forced-air warming does not disrupt laminar flow or compromise the protection of the surgical site.3 In fact, in its 25 year history, there has never been a report of an SSI linked to the use of forced-air warming.

“I’m confident in the use of forced-air warming blankets at my institution for patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty in laminar flow equipped ORs,” said Dr. Parvizi. “Normothermia maintenance plays a critical role in minimizing complications following any surgery and should be exercised whenever possible.”

High-quality randomized trials show that maintaining normothermia:1

  • Reduces surgical bleeding and the need for blood products
  • Reduces the risk of surgical wound infection
  • Decreases the risk of postoperative myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Shortens postoperative recovery and the duration of hospitalization
  • Improves patient comfort

Quality initiatives, including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP), and professional organizations such as the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the American Society of Peri-Anesthesia Nurses (ASPAN), all note the important role of normothermia maintenance and several specifically mention forced-air technology as a key means of warming.

“We will continue to define patient warming with next-generation products in an effort to bring the benefits of normothermia to every patient and every surgical procedure,” said Bob Buehler, vice president of 3M’s Patient Warming business. “Our customers can be confident that they have access to some of the best products and the most comprehensive product portfolio in the industry.”

For more information about forced-air warming technology please visit www.FAWfacts.com.

About Arizant Healthcare Inc., a 3M company
Arizant Healthcare Inc., headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn., is the maker of surgical patient temperature management systems including 3M™ Bair Hugger™ therapy, the 3M™ Bair Paws™ patient adjustable warming system, and the 3M™ Ranger™ blood and fluid warming systems. Arizant created the category of forced-air warming, which is the preferred method of warming surgical patients in the U.S.

About 3M Infection Prevention Division
The 3M Infection Prevention Division is on a mission to provide health care professionals solutions to minimize the risks of health care-associated infections. Combining science and technology, 3M has introduced more than 40 distinct technology platforms and a comprehensive portfolio of quality products that help the healthcare industry define and address current infection prevention best practices. With its system of people, products and process, 3M Infection Prevention remains a trusted partner committed to helping customers lead the way in controlling the risk of infection. For more information, please visit www.mmm.com/infectionprevention.

About 3M
3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs about 84,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

1 Mahoney, CB. Odom, J. Maintaining intraoperative normothermia: A meta-analysis of outcomes with costs. AANA Journal. 67(2): 155-164. 1999.
2 Parvizi, J. Karam, J. Do Forced-Air Warming Blankets Increase Surgical Site Infections? 2012.*
3 Sessler DI, Olmsted RN, Kuelpmann R. Forced-Air Warming Does Not Worsen Air Quality in Laminar Flow Operating Rooms. Anesth Analg.113 (6): 1416-1421. 2011.*

*Papers available at www.FAWfacts.com.


3M Public Relations
Mary Kokkinen, 651-733-8806
[email protected]
Arizant Healthcare Inc., a 3M company
Troy Bergstrom, 952-947-1214
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Minnesota

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Surgery  Health  Cardiology  Hospitals  Infectious Diseases  Medical Devices  Manufacturing  Engineering  Other Manufacturing