Forced-Air Warming (FAW) Blanket
Bair Hugger Warming Blankets increase the risk of deep joint infection during high-hip and knee replacement surgeries.
The Bair Hugger Warming System can pick up bacteria-contaminated air and blow harmful pathogens directly into the sterile surgical field.
The Bair Hugger Warming Blanket, introduced in 1988, is used in millions of surgery per year to manage the temperature of the patient during surgery. Bair Hugger blankets use forced-air warming (FAW) to circulate warm air over a patient’s body during surgery in order to prevent hypothermia. However, studies found that the Bair Hugger product, manufactured by 3M, increases the risk of deep joint infection during high-hip and knee replacement surgeries. The Bair Hugger Warming system can pick up bacteria-contaminated air and blow harmful pathogens directly into the sterile surgical field.
Bair Hugger complications can include the need for revision surgeries and longer hospitalizations, joint implant removal, placement of an antibiotic spacer in the infected joint, intravenous antibiotic treatment, and amputation.
A 2013 study published in The Bone & Joint Journal examined the increase in airborne contaminants over the sterile surgical site when forced-air warming blankets are used. The researchers recreated the airflow in a surgical theatre during a knee replacement surgery, and found that convection currents rose against the downward airflow, causing turbulence over the patient. This convection current increased the particle concentration 1,000-fold and introduced potentially contaminated particles from below the operating table into the surgical site.
In 2010, the FDA issued a warning letter to Arizant (a subsidiary of 3M Company), a manufacturer of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket, for violations regarding failing to report adverse events and failing to report device malfunctions. Read more here:
Bair Hugger lawsuits are currently being filed in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the District of Minnesota. Lenze Moss is actively investigating Bair Hugger cases and pursuing the litigation. If you or a loved one has been injured by the use of the Bair Hugger product, please contact us.