Inadvertent Perioperative Hypothermia During Orthopedic Surgery

Author and Disclosure Information


  • Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia, defined as an involuntary drop in core body temperature to <35°C (95°F), is a condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality.
  • Maintenance of core body temperature >36°C is now a measured standard of perioperative care.
  • Overall, in the last 2 decades, the incidence of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia has decreased, mainly due to aggressive intraoperative management.
  • Active patient warming by conduction devices occurs by direct physical contact with the device, which is set at a higher temperature, whereas heat transfer from the convection device to the patient occurs by a physical medium such as forced air or circulating water that moves in between the device and the patient.
  • Active patient warming is superior to passive heat retention methods.




Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia is a significant problem in patients undergoing either emergency or elective orthopedic surgery, and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Though in general the incidence of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia in postoperative recovery rooms has been decreasing over the last 2 decades, it still remains a significant risk in certain specialty practices, such as orthopedic surgery. This review article summarizes the currently available evidence on the incidence, risk factors, and complications of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia. Also, the effective preventive strategies in dealing with inadvertent perioperative hypothermia are reviewed and essential clinical guidelines to be followed are summarized.

Continue to: Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia...


Recommended Reading

Glucocorticoids linked with surgical infections in RA patients
MDedge Surgery
Free Composite Serratus Anterior-Latissimus-Rib Flaps for Acute One-Stage Reconstruction of Gustilo IIIB Tibia Fractures
MDedge Surgery
Treatment of Grade III Acromioclavicular Separations in Professional Baseball Pitchers: A Survey of Major League Baseball Team Physicians
MDedge Surgery
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs Osteoarthritis: Comparison of Demographics and Trends of Joint Replacement Data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample
MDedge Surgery
Reasons for Readmission Following Primary Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
MDedge Surgery
Biomechanical Analysis of a Novel Buried Fixation Technique Using Headless Compression Screws for the Treatment of Patella Fractures
MDedge Surgery
Antegrade Femoral Nail Distal Interlocking Screw Causing Rupture of the Medial Patellofemoral Ligament and Patellar Instability
MDedge Surgery
Shoulder Arthroplasty in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Population-Based Study Examining Utilization, Adverse Events, Length of Stay, and Cost
MDedge Surgery
Minimum 5-Year Follow-up of Articular Surface Replacement Acetabular Components Used in Total Hip Arthroplasty
MDedge Surgery
Outcomes After Peripheral Nerve Block in Hip Arthroscopy
MDedge Surgery