Hypothermia in elective surgery: The hidden enemy
Introduction: Hypothermia is perhaps the most frequent undesirable event in elective surgery. It is estimated that 1 h after surgery has initiated 70-90% of patients will experience hypothermia. In elective surgery, there are several factors leading to temperatures under 34 °C. Hypothermia may increases infections, bleeding and need for transfusion as well as the occurrence of an undesirable effect of discomfort and feared such as cold and postoperative shivering that can lead to cardiac complications due to increased of sympathetic influence.
Objectives: Review the causes of these low temperatures within intraoperative elective surgery and check if the current alternatives to prevent hypothermia are effective.
Methods: Review of non-systematic literature in PubMed and Medline was performed.
Results: Hypothermia is the most common and least diagnosed undesirable event of patients undergoing surgery although it is easy to detect and preventive measures do not present major difficulties in their implementation.
Conclusions: There are effective measures easy to set up, economical and effective to prevent hypothermia; the most important is the patient warm with hot air under pressure for 1 h and maintenance of air conditioning in the room above 22 °C. We just need to understand these measures and start to implement them.
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