I certainly know this from experience. The lateral position makes it particularly hard to warm folks.
Anesthesiology News reports
The study, led by David Bronheim, MD, associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City, was a retrospective analysis of medical records from 316 thoracic surgery patients treated at the institution between May 2011 and February 2012. All of the patients had been covered perioperatively with a forced–warm air blanket.
Despite active warming, Dr. Bronheim’s team found 7.2% of patients (23 of 316) experienced postoperative hypothermia. These patients were significantly more likely to die within 30 days of surgery than patients whose temperature remained normal: 8.7% (two of 23) versus 0.7% (two of 293), respectively (P=0.028)…
Anesthesiology News also reported:
The study helps identify thoracic surgery patients most at risk for hypothermia, said Dr. Bronheim, who presented his team’s findings at the 2013 annual meeting of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (abstract 96):
- lower body weight,
- shorter height and
- administration of lower amounts of crystalloids were independently associated with hypothermia (P<0.05 for all).
However, the actual abstract does not actually report any risk factors for hypothermia. We’ll have to await the final manuscript.
I had figured that patients who got cold had received more fluids. If the final published results confirm that my assumption is wrong, it will highlight why studies are done – what we think is true is not always so.