Unintended hypothermia may occur during or after surgery if certain risk factors are present. Hypothermia can increase the risk for complications such as surgical site infections.
infant or small child
chilled (especially blood)
exposed surface area
surfaces that skin is in contact with
drug effect on vasculature
drug effect on thermo-regulatory responses
room air flow
evaporative loss (large operative site, expired air)
skin surface area covered with preparation solutions
spinal cord injury
• A patient with a spinal cord injury may have a reduced ability to vasoconstrict.
• Opioids may impair the thermoregulatory response to hypothermia.
• A high rate of fluid loss is associated with heat loss, but this is replaced by fluid infusions.
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