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Inadvertent hypothermia during the perioperative period


1School of Medicine, University of Zagreb

2University Hospital Centre Zagreb

3Ministry of Labour and Pension System

4 Medical Assessors Department

DOI: 10.22514/SV101.062015.10 Vol.10,Issue S1,June 2015 pp.41-43

Published: 22 June 2015

*Corresponding Author(s): DANIELA BANDIĆ PAVLOVIĆ E-mail:

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Inadvertent hypothermia, which is defined as temperature below 36°C, is common in the perioperative setting. Patients un-der general or regional anaesthesia have impaired temperature regulation/homeo-stasis. Temperature monitoring should be an established standard for all procedures that last more than 30 minutes. Unfortu-nately, study shows that it is not a common practice in European hospitals. Passive and active patient warming should be used to prevent and treat hypothermia. Warming should start in the preoperative period and last throughout all perioperative phases. In that way, well-known complication of hy-pothermia should be prevented. Cardiac event, coagulopathy and wound infection are the leading causes of delayed discharge and more adverse outcomes related to hy-pothermia. It is especially important to un-dertake all necessary intervention proce-dures to prevent hypothermia in a group of patients with known high number of risk factors for hypothermia. Ambient tem-perature, an important risk factor, should be monitored and maintained at about 21°C. According to reviewed evidence, the protocol to prevent, monitor and treat hy-pothermia should be established. Further studies about the implementation of tem-perature monitoring and regulation are needed in order to raise awareness about this issue.

Key words

hypothermia, core temperature, anaesthesia, warming devices, prevention, treatment 

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