Depends. Some surgeons absolutely hate hot ORs because they sweat like crazy. Other times, warmer ORs are necessary for patient care, such as pediatric patients, trauma patients, and in my facility, coronary bypasses done without cardiopulmonary bypass (aka beating heart).
As the unsterile team member, yes, the circulator is generally responsible for adjusting the temperature. AORN recommends temperatures between 68-72. By cold I mean around 66-67 and by warm I mean over 72. Our policy for traumas and beating heart CABG is 80.
Cold! Except for Peds and trauma, our temps are adjusted based on the comfort of the surgeon & staff they are scrubbed in. Pedi rooms are always warmer. Our Trauma OR has to be at 83 degrees based I trauma guidelines. Once the patient is stable and the surgeon & anesthesia agree, we can turn the temp down.
For any case over 30-45 minutes we use a bair hugger to keep the patient warm throughout. Long cases for Peds under 3 yrs, we also use a heating lamp. Our Anesthesia are very good about monitoring temps and have refused to allow the temp to be turned down, even if it's a surgeon request.
Finally someone responded with numbers. 68-73 doesn't sound bad at all. I thought some of the comments were alluding towards the low 60's..now that would be too cold for me to work in, but 68-73 is quite doable. Thanks guys! ;-)
I'd love to be in an OR with the temp in the low 70's. At the surgery center I work at PRN, typical OR temp is 66-67. At the hospital it's often cooler than that, especially in the ortho rooms because surgeons are wearing xray lead under their gowns & burn up. By the end of a long ortho case, I've got the room temp down to 60 and they're still sweating half to death, while I'm shivering and my Anesthesiologist is wrapped in a warm blanket. Thank goodness for the bair hugger keeping the patient warm!