Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Anesthesiology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Hypothermia in a surgical intensive care unit

Fernando J Abelha1*, Maria A Castro1, Aida M Neves1, Nuno M Landeiro1 and Cristina C Santos2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Hospital de São João, Porto, Portugal

2 Biostatistics and Medical Informatics Department, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Porto, Portugal

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Anesthesiology 2005, 5:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-5-7

Published: 6 June 2005

Abstract

Background

Inadvertent hypothermia is not uncommon in the immediate postoperative period and it is associated with impairment and abnormalities in various organs and systems that can lead to adverse outcomes. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence, the predictive factors and outcome of core hypothermia on admission to a surgical ICU.

Methods

All consecutive 185 adult patients who underwent scheduled or emergency noncardiac surgery admitted to a surgical ICU between April and July 2004 were admitted to the study. Tympanic membrane core temperature (Tc) was measured before surgery, on arrival at ICU and every two hours until 6 hours after admission. The following variables were also recorded: age, sex, body weight and height, ASA physical status, type of surgery, magnitude of surgical procedure, anesthesia technique, amount of intravenous fluids administered during anesthesia, use of temperature monitoring and warming techniques, duration of the anesthesia, ICU length of stay, hospital length of stay and SAPS II score. Patients were classified as either hypothermic (Tc ≤ 35°C) or normothermic (Tc> 35°C). Univariate analysis and multiple regression binary logistic with an odds ratio (OR) and its 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI) were used to compare the two groups of patients and assess the relationship between each clinical predictor and hypothermia. Outcome measured as ICU length of stay and mortality was also assessed.

Results

Prevalence of hypothermia on ICU admission was 57.8%. In univariate analysis temperature monitoring, use of warming techniques and higher previous body temperature were significant protective factors against core hypothermia. In this analysis independent predictors of hypothermia on admission to ICU were: magnitude of surgery, use of general anesthesia or combined epidural and general anesthesia, total intravenous crystalloids administrated and total packed erythrocytes administrated, anesthesia longer than 3 hours and SAPS II scores. In multiple logistic regression analysis significant predictors of hypothermia on admission to the ICU were magnitude of surgery (OR 3.9, 95% CI, 1.4–10.6, p = 0.008 for major surgery; OR 3.6, 95% CI, 1.5–9.0, p = 0.005 for medium surgery), intravenous administration of crystalloids (in litres) (OR 1.4, 95% CI, 1.1–1.7, p = 0.012) and SAPS score (OR 1.0, 95% CI 1.0–1.7, p = 0.014); higher previous temperature in ward was a significant protective factor (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1–0.7, p = 0.003). Hypothermia was neither a risk factor for hospital mortality nor a predictive factor for staying longer in ICU.

Conclusion

The prevalence of patient hypothermia on ICU arrival was high. Hypothermia at time of admission to the ICU was not an independent factor for mortality or for staying longer in ICU.