In our outpatient post anaesthesia unit patients reported that they were feeling cold with or without shivering. Anaesthetic agents cause reduced thermoregulation, initially by redistribution of blood flow from core to periphery, later by negative balance between thermogenesis and heat loss. Even mild peri-operative hypothermia increases the risk of surgical wound infections, bleeding, impaired cardiac function, shivering, and decreases comfort.
We aimed to evaluate which of our current active warming measures, self-warming blanket or forced-air-warming blanket, were most effective in preventing inadvertent intraoperative heat loss. Secondarily, we assessed whether they prevented inadvertent peri-operative hypothermia when defined as core body temperature below 36 °C.
Randomised controlled trial, parallel group design.
Aleris Solsiden hospital for outpatient surgery, Trondheim, Norway, from March to June 2016.
A total of 112 consecutive patients planned for outpatient plastic surgery. Reasons for noninclusion: failing to meet the criteria for outpatient surgery according to the standard of the national society of anaesthesiology.
Patients were randomised to active warming by a self-warming blanket or a forced-air-warming blanket. All patients received routine measures to prevent hypothermia with a high temperature in the operation theatres, prewarmed fluids, cotton blankets and surgical draping outside the surgical field.
Temperature, measured pre-operatively, every 10 min during general anaesthesia and postoperatively with a zero-heat-flux temperature sensor.
Core temperature was significantly lower in the self-warming blanket compared with the forced-air-warming blanket group during anaesthesia, P less than 0.0001. Hypothermia (<36 °C) was recorded in 47%, n = 22, patients in the self-warming blanket group and 25%, n = 16, in the forced-air-warming blanket group during the registration period, P = 0.02.
An underbody forced-air-warming blanket reduced heat loss to a greater extent than a self-warming blanket. But none of the interventions were sufficient to prevent inadvertent peri-operative hypothermia.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03163563.
From Aleris Hospital and Radiology Solsiden Trondheim, Norway
Correspondence to Stig S. Tyvold, Aleris Solsiden, Innherredsveien 74, N-7014 Trondheim, Norway Tel: +47 73 87 20 00; e-mail: email@example.com
Published online 16 September 2019