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5th October 2023

Hypothermia in elective surgery

Hypothermia can be considered a hidden danger in elective surgery. Without preventative measures, inadvertent hypothermia occurs in 50% to 90% of surgical patients [1]. This can happen in both short and long surgical procedures. Highlighting the significant need for hypothermia prevention methods within surgery.


Why does hypothermia happen in surgery?

Though the operating room is not a challenging environment, hypothermia can still occur. According to Acute and Critical care, hypothermia occurs due to a “combination of anaesthesia-induced impairment of thermoregulatory control, a cool operating room environment, and surgical factors that promote excessive heat loss.” [2]

There are 3 phases of hypothermia development with general anaesthesia. Beginning with core-to-peripheral heat redistribution, followed by linear core temperature decline, and the final stage core temperature plateau. Once the third stage is reached, maintaining normothermia is no longer possible. Now, the only choice is to recover from hypothermia, which is much more difficult than preventing it in the first place. Learn more about these stages here.

Anaesthesia can temporarily impair the “autonomic responses that defend us from hypothermia.” [1] Without these defences, and without adequate prevention, hypothermia can come with several adverse effects. Such as blood loss, perioperative haemorrhage and increased infection rate. [2] This is why prevention methods such as passive warming blankets are vital. They are simple and effective.


How can hypothermia be prevented?

Passive warming blankets, such as the THERMARMOUR medical blanket, are considered “comparably effective insulators because they trap heat in the layer of air between the patient and the insulator.” [1] These blankets work by conserving the heat of the patient, which is the simplest method. For this reason, passive warming blankets are a popular choice, as they are simple to use, functional as well as being cost-effective.


How does THERMARMOUR work?

A THERMARMOUR medical blanket captures body heat from the patient through the unique layered material and is re-circulated. The multi-layer bonded fabric is designed around the principle of producing both reflective and convection heat. Bonded diamond-partition construction maximises thermal protection, thermal efficiency, and usability.

This process is proven to allow a hypothermic patient recovery to normothermia, going through extensive trials at Loughborough University and various NHS Trusts.

More features:

  • Standalone single use
  • X-ray compatible
  • Latex free
  • Can be cut to size
  • Central foil layer
  • No active heating source required
  • Thermal fleece layer – optimised for air flow
  • Inner foil layer provides strength and a moisture barrier
  • Outer foil, layer – soft touch, waterproof and windproof



Passive warming for hypothermia prevention

If you are looking for surgical hypothermia prevention solutions, look no further than THERMARMOUR. Choosing high quality patient warming blankets improves patient outcomes. “Adequate patient temperature after surgery and anaesthesia not only increases patient comfort and satisfaction, but also affects long-term mortality.” [2]

Learn more about our medical range of products or take a look at our clinical evidence. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries, or if you would like to place an order with us.

Categories: Medical

Tags: elective surgery, hypothermia, hypothermia in surgery, hypothermia prevention, surgical procedure

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