This study tested the hypotheses that 1) temperatures of “central” sites are similar in infants and children undergoing noncardiac surgery and 2) airway heating and humidification increases distal esophageal temperature. Twenty children were randomly assigned to receive 1) active airway humidification using an airway heater and humidifier set at 37°C (N = 8), 2) passive airway humidification using a heat and moisture exchanger (N = 6), or 3) no ainvay humidification and/or heating (control, N = 6). There were no statistically significant differences between tympanic membrane, esophageal, rectal, and axillary temperatures. The temperatures of the peripheral skin surface (forearm and fingertip) were significantly lower than tympanic membrane temperature and significantly different from each other. Although esophageal and tympanic membrane temperatures in the entire group were similar, esophageal temperatures in patients receiving active and passive airway humidification were about 0.35°C above tympanic temperatures after induction of anesthesia. In contrast, esophageal temperatures in patients without airway humidification were 0.25°C below tympanic temperatures after induction of anesthesia. Esophageal-tympanic membrane temperature differences in the patients given active and passive humidification differed significantly from the corresponding sum in the control group at all times, but not from each other.
Address correspondence to Dr. Sessler, Department of Anesthesia, Room C-450, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143–0648.
© 1989 International Anesthesia Research Society