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Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2009 Feb;22(1):21-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1202882.

Temperature control and the role of supplemental oxygen.

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Department of Surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA 98431, USA.


Unrecognized and untreated intraoperative hypothermia remains a common avoidable scenario in the modern operating room. Failure to properly address this seemingly small aspect of the total operative care has been shown to have profound negative patient consequences including increased incidence of postoperative discomfort, surgical bleeding, requirement of allogenic blood transfusion, wound infections, and morbid cardiac events. All of these ultimately lead to longer hospitalizations and higher mortality. To avoid such problems, simple methods can be employed by the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and ancillary personnel to ensure euthermia. Similarly, another effortless method to potentially improve surgical outcomes is the liberal use of supplemental oxygen. Promising preliminary data suggests that high-concentration oxygen during and after surgery may decrease the rate of surgical site infections and gastrointestinal anastomotic failure. The precise role of supplemental oxygen in the perioperative period represents an exciting area of potential research that awaits further validation and analysis. In this article, the authors explore the data regarding both temperature regulation and supplemental oxygen use in an attempt to define further their emerging role in the perioperative care of patients undergoing colorectal surgery.


Hypothermia; colorectal surgery; supplemental oxygen; temperature regulation

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