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Normothermia is normal core body temperature, typically 36°-38°C. In a surgical setting, a decrease in core body temperature below normothermia can dramatically increase the risk for surgical complications. Actively warming patients before, during, and after surgical procedures is effective for preventing unintended hypothermia, the most frequent preventable surgical complication. Even mild hypothermia, a core temperature of 34-36°C, is associated with serious surgical complications.
An estimated 30%-40% of patients arrive hypothermic to post-anesthesia recovery. A meta-analysis of intra-operative hypothermia studies concluded that an average 1.5°C drop in core body temperature resulted in adverse surgical outcomes adding $2500–$7000 in hospitalization costs per patient, prolonging hospital stays by 20%.
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