Encompass Group Highlights Important Findings in 2020 Virtual AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo

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CONTACT: Ellen Hassett on behalf of Encompass Group, LLC, (716) 465-6230,; Cadi Tierney, Encompass Group, LLC, (770) 362-7033,


Encompass Group Highlights Important Findings in 2020 Virtual AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo

Forced-Air Warming Air-Equipment Pathogen-Contamination Correlation May Necessitate Alternative Approaches

MCDONOUGH, GA, July 7, 2020Encompass Group, LLC, today highlighted important findings presented at the ongoing 2020 Virtual AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo. A healthcare epidemiologist and clinical research expert identified a correlation between air-equipment pathogen-contamination levels from forced-air warming (FAW) devices, referring future attention to useful, alternative approaches that may help improve infection-risk mitigation strategies.

The 2020 Virtual AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo brings together 40,000+ perioperative nurses, professionals, and exhibitors for online learning through July 31, 2020. A study by Healthcare Epidemiologist and Clinical Research Expert, Victor R. Lange, PhD, JD, MSPH, ICP, CRC, CRA, is featured in the 2020 AORN event. Perioperative patient warming to maintain normothermia reduces hypothermia complications, which helps to improve postoperative results, and may contribute to shorter hospital stays. Forced-air warming (FAW) devices, however, can introduce bacteria into operating environments via surface-component contamination and tissue-air connection, increasing surgical-site infection (SSI) risk. Mr. Lange collected new FAW-bacteria correlation data from 320 samples to better understand and inform infection-control protocols that mitigate healthcare-associated infection (HAI) risk. Mr. Lange submitted his study findings in a poster presentation, "Forced Air Contamination Risk in the OR," that AORN accepted into the event.

Mr. Lange's study revealed almost half of all samples cultured at higher-than-minimum-acceptable colony-forming unit (CFU) pathogen levels, including 37.2% of FAW equipment samples and 5.3% of air samples, and nearly one quarter at higher-than-maximum-acceptable CFU pathogen levels. He observed, “OR theater air-quality monitoring and HEPA-filter and FAW-unit maintenance may not adequately prevent microorganism communication and transmission.” Mr. Lange found, “Data identified a correlation of positive airborne samples for instances that had high-pathogen contamination in the warmer-temperature components, contributing to increased patient infection and SSI concerns.” Finally, Mr. Lange concluded, “FAW device-component contamination may be a heightened risk in the OR…cross-contamination of the environment remains a risk…[and a] reduction in surface and airborne CFUs may positively reduce SSI and HAI risk.”

Concerning the study findings, Kristy Warren, MSN-Ed, RN, BA, CLLM, Encompass Group, LLC Director of Clinical Resources, stated, “Based on studies that proceeded Mr. Lange’s work, we have known that the equipment-air contamination risk is present with forced-air warming and is particularly high in more extensive surgeries, such as joint replacement. Encompass Group designs and develops patient warming products that eliminate forced-air risk by relying on alternative technologies and materials. Mr. Lange’s work demonstrates even further that we’re on the right product-development path, clinically speaking, delivering effective patient warming without increasing infection risk.”

The AORN 2020 Global Surgical Conference & Expo presentation on the study is available online in the event virtual exhibit hall through July 31, 2020. AORN members may view resources anytime. Mr. Lange’s study results also were presented at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) 2019 Annual Conference.

For more information on the study, please visit



Encompass Group, LLC is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of reusable textiles, professional apparel, and disposable and single-use medical products. Encompass Group believes that every patient, resident, caregiver, and family member should feel safe and comfortable in today’s healthcare environments. Encompass Group enhances the healthcare experience by developing innovative products that are reliably delivered and cost-effective for all providers. Encompass Group serves the acute-care, long-term, and senior-care markets, retail healthcare and hospitality apparel markets, and government operations markets. 

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