Unintended Hypothermia

Patients are warmed during surgery (and ideally before and after, too) for several reasons. The most important is to maintain a normal body temperature (normothermia) during surgery.

When a person is under anesthesia, he or she loses the ability to regulate body temperature. Patient warming before and during the surgical procedure can help keep the body temperature within the normal range. This helps avoid unintended hypothermia – a condition that can lead to easily preventable surgical complications, including:

Safe Patient Warming photo graphic

References:

  1. Schmied H, Kurz A, Sessler DI, Kozek S, Reiter A. Mild hypothermia increases blood loss and transfusion requirements during total hip arthroplasty. Lancet. 1996;347(8997):289–92.
  2. Kurz A, Sessler DI, Lenhardt R. Perioperative normothermia to reduce the incidence of surgical-wound infection and shorten hospitalization. Study of Wound Infection and Temperature Group. New England Journal of Medicine. 1996; 334(19); pp. 1209-15.
  3. Frank SM, Fleisher LA, Breslow MJ, Higgins MS, Olson KF, Kelly S, Beattie C. Perioperative maintenance of normothermia reduces the incidence of morbid cardiac events: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1997; 277(14):1127–34.