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Warming patients before clean surgery reduced the incidence of postoperative wound infection

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QUESTION: In patients having minor elective surgery, does preoperative warming reduce the incidence of wound infection after surgery?


Randomised {allocation concealed}*, blinded (outcome assessor), controlled trial with 6 weeks of follow up.


A district general hospital in the UK.


421 patients who were having elective hernia repair, varicose vein surgery, or breast surgery that would result in a scar >3 cm in length. Exclusion criteria were <18 years of age, pregnancy, use of long term oral steroids, radiotherapy (to the incision site) or chemotherapy in the previous 4 weeks, or infection at the time of surgery. Follow up was 99% (mean age 50 y, 58% women).


Patients were allocated to …

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  • Sources of funding: Action Research; Smith & Nephew Foundation; Augustine Medical Inc.

  • For correspondence: Mr A C Melling, University Hospital of North Tees, Stockton-on-Tees, UK. andymelling{at}

  • * Information provided by author.