Birth in the Fax Lane -- Cesarean Surgery Info
  Improved outcomes when Patients Kept Warm
During Surgery
-- reduced post-op infections
and shorter hospital stays

Also raises questions about keeping neonates
warm at birth, especially when medical
procedures are required

Hospital operating rooms kept cold to retard the growth of airborne bacteria triple the risk of infection, claims a new study by University of California anesthesiologist Daniel Sessler. "What causes wound infection is not really bacteria floating around in the air," says Dr. Sessler, "but the patient's decreased resistance to bacteria on the skin or inside the body." Cold operating rooms can drop a patient's body temperature by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit. And low body temperature reduces the flow of oxygenated blood, which is essential in fighting infection. Sessler says that "the cells and enzymes responsible for immunity simply don't work well when the body is cold." Sessler and his colleagues found that in addition to a reduced rate of infection, patients whose body temperature was kept normal during surgery stayed in the hospital nearly three days less than unwarmed patients.
published in Awake! 1997