Inadvertent hypothermia, which is defined as temperature below 36°C, is common in the perioperative setting. Patients under general or regional anaesthesia have impaired temperature regulation/homeostasis. Temperature monitoring should be an established standard for all procedures that last more than 30 minutes. Unfortunately, study shows that it is not a common practice in European hospitals. Passive and active patient warming should be used to prevent and treat hypothermia. Warming should start in the preoperative period and last throughout all perioperative phases. In that way, well-known complication of hypothermia should be prevented. Cardiac event, coagulopathy and wound infection are the leading causes of delayed discharge and more adverse outcomes related to hypothermia. It is especially important to undertake all necessary intervention procedures to prevent hypothermia in a group of patients with known high number of risk factors for hypothermia. Ambient temperature, an important risk factor, should be monitored and maintained at about 21°C. According to reviewed evidence, the protocol to prevent, monitor and treat hypothermia should be established. Further studies about the implementation of temperature monitoring and regulation are needed in order to raise awareness about this issue.
Key words: hypothermia, core temperature, anaesthesia, warming devices, prevention, treatment