Impact of Hypothermia on the Response to Neuromuscular Blocking Drugs

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Muscle strength is reduced during hypothermia, both in the presence and in the absence of neuromuscular blocking drugs. A 2°C reduction in body temperature may double the duration of neuromuscular blockade. Central body and muscle temperatures decline in parallel, as long as peripheral vasoconstriction does not occur. A reduction in muscle strength must be expected at a body temperature less than 36°C (corresponding to a muscle temperature of approximately 35°C). Local cooling of the hand may make adductor pollicis twitch tension monitoring less useful during clinical anesthesia. The efficacy of neostigmine is maintained during mild hypothermia. The use of a nerve stimulator is strongly recommended to monitor the effect of neuromuscular blocking drugs during intraoperative hypothermia.

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