Patient Temperature Management

Effective and continuous patient warming helps to protect your patients from getting hypothermic, a core body temperature of 36ºC or below. 

The aim is to maintain patient temperature at normal levels at all times: between 36.5º and 37.5º C.

Perioperative hypothermia is a common complication that occurs during anaesthesia. It is not unusual for a patient’s core temperature to drop to less than 35ºC within the first 30 to 40 minutes of anaesthesia. If the perioperative team does not manage this risk throughout the perioperative patient pathway, as many as 70 percent of patients undergoing routine surgery may be hypothermic on admission to the recovery room .

The three levels of hypothermia are mild: 33°C - 35°C, moderate: 28°C - 32°C and deep: < 28°C. For more information, read the booklet below. 

Factors that can contribute to hypothermia include the duration of the operation, the location of the wound, the amount of blood loss, the surface area of the wound, the environmental temperature, the anaesthetic technique, uncovered body parts and being unable to measure and control the body temperature.

The dangers that arise occur in practically all body systems, in particular the cardio-vascular system, the metabolic system, the central nervous system and the haematological and urogenital systems.

Implementation of best practice to prevent inadvertent perioperative hypothermia could lead to reductions in Surgical Site Infections (SSI), reductions in the length of hospital stays and in the end a significant reduction in costs per patient.1 2 3 4

Hypothermia can be prevented through (a combination) of different therapies: Forced Air Warming, Blood and Fluid Warming, Irrigation Fluid Warming and Heat Reflective Technology. Furthermore a warm (normothermic) patient means a comfortable patient.

Successful Temperature Management Booklet
The Surgical Company is proud to support you with a practical guide on how to prevent and treat hypothermia. Our special thanks goes to the author; S.D.J. van Beek, registered nurse anesthetist CRNA, Streekziekenhuis Koningin Beatrix, Winterswijk, The Netherlands.

This booklet is intended for health care professionals involved in preventing or treating hypothermia. In the second edition of the booklet a full chapter on pre-warming is included.

The second edition includes pre-warming, has a refreshed cover and is available in EnglishGermanTurkishFrenchDutchSpanish.

1) Kurz A., Sessler D., 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: 1209-15

2) Mahoney C. and Odom J., Maintaining intraoperative Normothermia: A meta-analysis of outcomes with costs, A.N.N.A. Journal, (1999), Volume 67, No. 2, pp. 155 to 164
3) Luna G.K., et al., Incidence and Effect of Hypothermia in Seriously Injured Patients, The Journal of Trauma (1987)
4) Jurkovich G.J., Hall G.M., Hypothermia in trauma victims: An ominous predictor of survival, The Journal of Trauma (1987)