Perioperative hypothermia occurs when a patient’s core body temperature drops considerably before, during or after surgery. It is a common but preventable complication of surgical procedures that most commonly appears after induction of general anaesthesia. Through clinical studies and among healthcare practitioners it is well-established that patients benefit from being warmed prior to, during and after surgery.
Patient outcomes after experiencing perioperative hypothermia are poorer, with an increase in surgical site infections, cardiac complications and bleeding as common complications. Patient distress and discomfort as well as increased treatment costs and prolonged hospitalization are other consequences associated with perioperative hypothermia. Preoperative patient warming to increase body warmth and reduce the drop in core body temperature during surgery, as well as active warming during surgery, has shown to be effective for avoiding hypothermia.