This guideline covers preventing and managing inadvertent hypothermia in people aged 18 and over having surgery. It offers advice on assessing patients’ risk of hypothermia, measuring and monitoring temperature, and devices for keeping patients warm before, during and after surgery.
In December 2016, we reviewed the evidence on measuring temperature, warming patients before induction of anaesthesia and warming patients after induction of anaesthesia. We changed and added some recommendations in sections 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- information for patients
- measuring temperature
- warming patients before their operation, including transfer to the operating theatre
- keeping patients warm during their operation, including ambient temperature in the operating theatre and temperature of intravenous fluids
- keeping patients warm after their operation
Who is it for?
- Healthcare professionals
- Adults having surgery and their families and carers
Guideline development process
This guideline was previously called inadvertent perioperative hypothermia: the management of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia in adults.
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.