Prevention of Intraoperative Hypothermia by Preoperative Skin-Surface Warming

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Intraoperative hypothermia initially results from internal redistribution of heat facilitated by anesthesia-induced vasodilatlon. Preinductlon skin-surface warming minimizes postinduction hypothermia in anesthetized volunteers. However, its efficacy might be reduced in surgical situations, because of multiple sources of heat loss.


Intraoperative core and mean skin temperatures were measured during total hip arthroplasty in 16 patients, randomly assigned to be covered preoperatlvely with a warming blanket for ≥90 min (prewarmed group) or not covered (unwarmed group).


During the first hour of anesthesia, core temperature decreased more than twice as much in the unwarmed group (−0.7 ± 0.1° C; mean ± SE) than in the prewarmed patients (−0.3 ± 0.1° C). At the end of surgery, core temperature was 36.3 ± 0.1° C in the prewarmed group and 35.2 ± 0.2° C in the unwarmed group. During recovery, seven patients obviously shivered in the unwarmed group and none in the prewarmed group.


Preanesthetic skin-surface warming reduces the initial postinductlon hypothermia in surgical patients, preventing intraoperative hypothermia and postoperative shivering even for procedures lasting 3 h or longer.

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