Q: What is redistributive hypothermia?
Answer: Redistributive hypothermia occurs during the first hour of surgical anesthesia. During the first hour of induction or activation of a neuraxial block, the body's core temperature decreases rapidly, but this drop in body temperature is not due to direct peripheral effects of anesthetics. This drop in body temperature in the first hour of anesthesia is due to anesthetic-induced vasodilation resulting from impairment of central thermoregulatory control. This redistribution of heat leads to a significant reduction in body's core temperature, though body mean body temperature remains the same.
See weblink in reference # 1 for an open-access article and diagrammatic representations.
1. Hart SR, Bordes B, Hart J, Corsino D, Harmon D. Unintended perioperative hypothermia. Ochsner J. 2011;11(3):259‐270. Weblink: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3179201/
2. Matsukawa T, Sessler DI, Sessler AM, et al. Heat flow and distribution during induction of general anesthesia. Anesthesiology 1995; 82:662.
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