Hypothermia during surgery associated with greater infection risk

Hypothermia commonly occurs during surgery and is associated with increased infection risk, according to research from Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System.

In 13.2 percent of 1,525 hip fracture surgeries analyzed, patients suffered from unintentional hypothermia. The odds of a deep surgical site infection occurring was 3.3 times higher for patients who developed hypothermia during their procedure.

"We know that anesthesia can profoundly affect the body's ability to maintain its internal temperature," Craig Silverton, MD, senior author of the study, said in a statement. "What this study demonstrates is that orthopedic patients in their 70s and those with low body mass further compounds the body to regulate its temperature."

Researchers found no correlation between the sex or rates of patients and their likelihood of developing hypothermia during surgery, and note that further research is needed to better understand the link between patients for whom a re-warming device is used during surgery to counteract hypothermia and infection.

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