Inadvertent intraoperative hypothermia is by far the most commonly occurring anaesthesia-related complication. It can increase the risk of unfavourable events perioperatively. Higher rates of surgical site infections and blood transfusions, coagulation and drug metabolism disturbances are said to be the most relevant issues linked to this phenomenon. Although they have been available for several years now, dedicated systems designed to prevent it are still not part of routine anaesthesia conducted in Poland. This review aims to discuss the factors which may potentially increase the risk of hypothermia, and to present tools that are readily available and effective in perioperative temperature management.
Since the adverse consequences of accidental peri-operative hypothermia have been recognised, there has been a rapid expansion in the development of new warming equipment designed to prevent it. This is a review of peri-operative warming devices and a critique of the evidence assessing their performance. Forced-air warming is a common and extensively tested warming modality that outperforms passive insulation and water mattresses, and is at least as effective as resistive heating. More recently developed devices include circulating water garments, which have shown promising results due to their ability to cover large surface areas, and negative pressure devices aimed at improving subcutaneous perfusion for warming. We also discuss the challenge of fluid warming, looking particularly at how devices' performance varies according to flow rate. Our ultimate aim is to provide a guide through the bewildering array of devices on the market so that clinicians can make informed and accurate choices for their particular hospital environment.