Armstrong SR, Roberts BK, Aronsohn M Peri-operative hypothermia.. Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. 2005; 15:(1)32-7

Clinical Anaesthesia, [On-Line]. 2011. (accessed 3 March, 2011)

Boag A, Nichols K First aid and emergencies, 4th Edn. Gloucester: British small animal veterinary association; 2008

Buggy DJ, Crossley AWA Thermoregulation, mild perioperative hypothermia and post-anaesthetic shivering.. British J Anaesthes. 2000; 84:(5)615-28

Cabell LW, Perkowski SZ, Gregor T, Smith GK The effects of active peripheral skin warming on perioperative hypothermia in dogs.. Vet Surg. 1997; 26:79-85

Frank SM Consequences of hypothermia.. Current Anaesthesia and Critical Care. 2001; 12:79-86

Galvao CM, Liang Y, Clark AM Effectiveness of cutaneous warming systems on temperature control: meta-analysis.. J Adv Nurs. 2010; 66:(6)1196-206

Galvao CM, Marck PB, Sawada NO, Clark AM A systemic review of the effectiveness of cutaneous warming systems to prevent hypothermia.. J Clin Nurs. 2009; 18:627-36

Kumar S, Wong PF, Melling AC, Leaper DJ Effects of perioperative hypothermia and warming in a surgical practice.. Int Wound J. 2005; 2:193-204

Leung KK, Lai A, Wu A A randomised controlled trial of the electric heating pad vs forced air warming for preventing hypothermia during laparotomy.. Anaesthesia. 2007; 62:(6)605-8

Lindwall R, Svensson H, Soderstrom S, Blomqvist H Forced air warming and intraoperative hypothermia.. Eur J Surg. 1998; 164:(1)13-16

Machon RG, Raffe MR, Robinson EP Warming with a forced air warming blanket minimises anaesthetic induced hypothermia in cats.. Vet Surg. 1999; 28:301-10

FDA encourages the reporting of medical device adverse events: free hosing hazards. 2002. (accessed 28 February, 2011)

Murison P Prevention and treatment of perioperative hypothermia in animals under 5kg bodyweight.. In Practice. 2001; 23:(7)412-8

Ng SF, Oo CS, Loh KH, Lim PO, Chan YH, Ong BC A comparative study of three warming interventions to determine the most effective in maintaining perioperative normothermia.. Anaesthes Analges. 2003; 96:171-6

Ng V, Lai A, Ho V Comparison of forced air warming and electric heating pad for maintenance of body temperature during total knee replacement.. Anaesthesia. 2006; 61:(11)1100-4

Pottie RG, Dart CM, Perkins NR, Hodgson DR Effect of hypothermia on recovery from general anaesthesia in the dog.. Aust Vet J. 2007; 85:(4)158-62

Rembert MS, Smith JA, Hosgood G A comparison of a forced air warming system to traditional thermal support for rodent microenvironments.. Laboratory Animals. 2004; 38:55-63

Schuszler L, Igna C, Brudiu L, Sabau M, Sala A, Dascalu R, Luca C Hypothermia prevention during anaesthesia in major surgery in dog.. Veterinary Medicine. 2009; 66:(2)247-50

Seymour J Observation and assessment of the patient, 4th edn. Gloucester: British small animal veterinary association; 2004

Tunsmeyer J, Bojarski I, Nolte I, Kramer S Intraoperative use of a reflective blanket (serious rescue sheet) for temperature management in dogs less than 10kg.. J Small Anim Pract. 2009; 50:350-5

Peri-operative hypothermia and the preventative role of forced air warming devices

01 May 2012
10 mins read
Volume 3 · Issue 4


Peri-operative hypothermia is an important condition for veterinary professionals to understand and avoid. There are numerous measures that can be taken to avoid peri-operative hypothermia. The use of forced air warming (FAW) is a common and effective method used in veterinary practice.

This report focuses on the indications, efficacy and risks of FAW in the prevention of hypothermia, by examining studies that have been carried out within the medical and veterinary fields. It shows that FAW warming is effective in preventing hypothermia, and that it is beneficial to combine FAW with other methods of insulation. While there is an associated risk these are rarely reported and easily avoided.

Peri-operative hypothermia is known to be a common consequence of anaesthesia (Ng et al, 2003), however, there are various other common causes that should always be taken into consideration (Table 1). It is extremely important for the veterinary nurse who may be responsible for perioperative monitoring, to realize that due to its detrimental effects on the patient (Table 2), it is better to prevent hypothermia, than to have to treat it. The condition and means for avoiding it should therefore be thoroughly anticipated and understood.

The purpose of this article is to focus on the indications, efficacy and risks of forced air warming (FAW) in the prevention of hypothermia by examining studies that have been carried out within the medical and veterinary fields. The benefits of using other warming methods alongside FAW will also discussed.

The efficacy of alternative methods of warming, use of intravenous fluids, methods of temperature measurement and cost effectiveness of FAW are outside the scope of this article.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting The Veterinary Nurse and reading some of our peer-reviewed content for veterinary professionals. To continue reading this article, please register today.