The maintenance of a normal core body temperature, normothermia, is a crucial component of patient safety. Core temperatures outside the normal range pose a risk in all patients undergoing surgery and have been associated with an increased risk of surgical complications, including:
Redistribution is a major cause of unintended hypothermia. Prewarming—actively warming surgical patients before the induction of anesthesia—is an effective way to help prevent it. Prewarming combined with intraoperative warming using forced-air warming blankets or gowns can reduce the temperature drop associated with redistribution and help maintain normothermia, which has been shown to reduce the rate of hypothermia-associated complications.15-16 The practice of prewarming is being recommended in clinical practice guidelines and quality improvement initiatives across the globe.17⁻21
One challenge in the management of patient temperature lies in effective temperature measurement and monitoring. Although core temperature is a vital sign, it is frequently thought of as being less important than other vitals monitored during anesthesia. Core temperature should be continuously monitored so that it can be effectively managed, ensuring patients stay within the normothermic temperature zone.
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