July 10, 2007 - Hypothermia is a common complication of surgery and anesthesia. Although it may protect against cerebral ischemia, it leads to undesirable effects, such as increased wound infection.
Operative warming has been shown to be beneficial, and this randomized trial provides evidence that adding pre- and postoperative warming to operative warming reduces operative blood loss and lowers the risk for postoperative complications.
To carry out this additional measure in the pre- and postoperative period, however, will require additional planning, equipment, and staff training.
A Randomized Clinical Trial of Perioperative Systemic Warming in Major Elective Abdominal Surgery aims to determine whether there is any benefit to perioperative warming when combined with intraoperative warming.
The study authors randomized 103 patients into operative warming only (controls) and operative warming plus pre- and postoperative warming (warmed group).
The commonest operation (71 of 103) was for colorectal cancer. The main differences in the 2 groups were a reduction of blood loss (P = .011) and a reduction in total postoperative complications (P = .027).
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