History, apparently, really does repeat itself. We had a bit of dejavu when nurses visited our Action Products convention booth complaining that AORN guidelines forbid the use of IV bags and towels as axillary rolls for positioning in the OR. After all, this was 2017, and almost three years ago to the day, in this very Action Products blog, the title of our post was “Don’t Use Saline Bags to Position Patients”.

In that blog post, we had cited a 2009 JAMA article: “In some hospitals, the use of a saline-filled bag covered with a blue operating room towel is often used as a shoulder roll to lift the shoulder and extend the neck during various surgeries.  During one surgical case, a leak in the saline bag resulted in severe burns where the shoulder roll was placed.”

“These bags can lead to nerve or skin damage, pressure ulcers or worse, if there is a small leak in the bag, severe electrical burns to the patient AMRI emphasized five years later, reminding readers “You are far better off investing in gel positioning rolls, which are specifically designed for the purpose.” .

 Actually, warnings against using IV bags as positioners go back much further than ’09.  A case report in the February 1999 issue of Anesthesiology, titled ”Intraoperative Burns Secondary to Warmed IV Bags – a Warning”, presented two cases “wherein minimally invasive warming of a patient during surgery resulted in significant thermal burns.”  Bags should not be used as bolsters or warming devices during surgical procedures, authors concluded.

In fact, in the course of pioneering the use of polymer gel for pressure sore prevention, Action Products, Inc. founders kept two product characteristics front and center: leak prevention and weight redistribution.

AORN guideline-compliant Akton® polymer gel patient positioners, which come in three sizes, eliminate any need to use IV bags, towels, or any other makeshift positioning. Beneficial for tracheotomy, thyroidectomy, tonsil and adenoid surgery.Action reusable gel pads and positioners, made of Akton® viscoelastic polymer gel, offers optimum pressure relief and shear reduction. It also redistributes weight and heat evenly for premium patient safety.