Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

The influence of body mass index on temperature management during general anaesthesia—A prospective observational study

Journal Article

Abstract Rationale, aims, and objectives During general anaesthesia, body core temperature is influenced by several factors that are either anaesthesia‐related (type and duration of anaesthesia and fluid management), surgery‐related (type of surgery and extent of the surgical procedure), or patient‐related (age, gender, body weight, and preoperative body core temperature). Interestingly, data concerning body mass index (BMI) and its influence on patients' temperature are sparse. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of BMI on body core temperature under general anaesthesia. Methods A single centre, prospective, observational study was conducted at a university hospital. Two cohorts (lower limb surgery and abdominal surgery) were evaluated. Patients were treated according to actual German guidelines for the prevention of hypothermia. Temperature was measured sublingually prior to anaesthesia and during the first 60 minutes of anaesthesia. Each cohort was divided in three subgroups (BMI < 24 kg m−2, BMI 25‐34.9 kg m−2, and BMI > 35 kg m−2) according to body weight. Results A total of 206 patients were evaluated. One hundred four underwent lower limb surgery; 102 underwent abdominal surgery. After induction of anaesthesia, temperature dropped in all subgroups, but this decline was more pronounced in patients with lower BMI. Significant differences concerning temperature changes were observed in abdominal surgery between low and high BMI groups. After 60 minutes of anaesthesia, group‐dependent temperature differences had levelled out, and relevant differences compared with preoperative temperatures could no longer be observed in any of the groups. Conclusion Current guidelines provide effective protection against perioperative hypothermia. In the current study, this was true for obese as well as normal weight patients.

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