Nurse Educator M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Sandau, Kristin


Background: Approximately 54.4 million inpatient surgical procedures are performed annually in the United States (CDC, 2016). Unfortunately, 500,000-750,000 surgical site infections (SSI) are reported annually (Roesler et al., 2010). A legacy study completed by Kurz et al. (1996) suggested maintaining normothermia during surgery may help decrease SSI. However, few recent studies have been conducted confirming these findings. Purpose: To review current literature for association between normothermia and SSI in adult patients undergoing general surgery. Results: Studies were identified (n = 21) examining association between body temperature normothermia control and SSI in general surgical cases. These studies were analyzed using Betty Neuman’s Systems model which proposes homeostasis helps individuals attain optimum health. Conclusions: Findings from contemporary studies (2011-Feb. 2016) support the premise that maintaining intraoperative normothermia may help decrease SSIs in general surgical cases. However, many studies used interventions bundled within a protocol; thus, it is difficult to determine whether any single individual intervention was responsible for a decrease in SSIs. Implications for Research and Practice: Standard definitions are still needed for normothermia and hypothermia. Bundled care interventions make it difficult to determine if individual interventions are connected to results. However, normothermia can contribute to a decrease in SSI incidence and the following measures have been shown to contribute toward perioperative normothermia: raising operating room temperatures, covering non-operative body parts, forced air warming blankets, and fluid and blood warmers. These interventions support what Neuman refers to as “reconstitution” or the reestablishment of system homeostasis following an intervention and may reduce SSI.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse Educator

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Nursing Commons