I was just thinking back to some surgery I had several years ago, and I realized that I never asked the burning question I had at the time - why was the OR so damn cold? Now that I think about it, the room where I had my cardiac angiogram was cold also, enough that I needed a blanket. So what’s the reason for the freezing temperatures?
For the comfort of the surgeon and staff, who invariably are wearing more than the patient. And because a doctor dripping sweat into your open wounds wouldn’t be very sterile.
I’d say it was because the people working on you are gloved, gowned, and wearing head coverings while doing physical work under bright lights. I’d like the air conditioned to a fare-thee-well myself for that.
ETA: What she said.
Could it also be related to the mechanism of the body to slow heart rate and metaboilsm when it’s colder?
Aren’t most people unconscious in the OR? Why would blankets be an issue?
No, the blankets were an issue when I had an angiogram.
I vaugly recall a bit on NPR about docs in Iraq finding that trama patients did better in cold ORs, and that observation spreading back in the States as the army doctors returned and went to work in civilian hospitals.
Sorry for the vague cite, but hopefully someone will be along whose more familiar with the story.
When I had mine, they asked if I was cold. And when I said yes, they brought not just blankets but heated blankets. I appreciated that. I imagine that laying on a metal table doesn’t help warm a patient up, nor do the gowns. Even in a normally heated room, that would leave me chilly.
If it was this article(pdf) “The impact of hypothermia on trauma care at the 31st combat support hospital”, then the conclusion was in fact the exact opposite.
Here is a an article about another study on infection and cold temperatures in the operating room:
Blankets are an issue because mild or moderate hypothermia is a problem and can lead to increased recovery time for patients, among other things.
It seems that patient comfort is becoming more of an issue. Blankets are heated, and so is the lube for some procedures.
As for the OP, I’m going to chime in with the “medical personnel are wearing more clothes, and sweat is not sterile” group.
Implicit, I think your right. I misremembered the story, the innovation in Iraq was towards warmer ORs.
I believe it’s an effect of the anesthesia. Every time my wife has gone for anesthesia, she’s felt cold.
I only have to venture into ORs to refill the anesthesia drug dispensing machines, but they do always seem at least a few degrees colder. Ours are also positive air-pressure, which may be SOP everywhere, but it may account for more HVAC air being directed into that room? FWIW, the clean room that we work on IVs in is also somewhat cooler.
It’s an infection control issue.
Besides the fact that as mentioned in other messages the opposite was found, I’ve been in ORs long before Iraq. I’ve always found them quite cold.
Same with me.
Not for me; I’m cold before they ever put any drugs in me.