Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing




Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (IPH) occurs in many patients during surgery and can potentially carry serious complications, including cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, increased bleeding, impaired drug metabolism, impaired wound healing and increased risk of wound infection. There are many different techniques to minimize hypothermia during the perioperative period, but forced-air warming is used for many surgical patients. Forced-air warming has been shown to be effective during the intraoperative period; however, many institutions do not utilize this therapy in the preoperative setting. A systematic review was conducted to assess the use of preoperative forced-air warming and its’ effects on minimizing IPH. Databases were searched for pertinent articles regarding the topic of study. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to finalize the articles to be included in the systematic review. A total of six studies were critically analyzed. Overall, forced-air prewarming of patients undergoing surgery helped to minimize IPH in adult surgical patients undergoing general anesthesia. Even in studies that did not demonstrate statistically significant results, findings demonstrated that patients that were preoperatively forced-air warmed were less hypothermic than those not prewarmed. Maintaining intraoperative forced-air warming, educating other health care providers about the effects of IPH, and advocating for preoperative warming are important topics that the advanced practice nurse, particularly the CRNA, can lead.