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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 136407, 10 pages
Research Article

A Proposed Methodology to Control Body Temperature in Patients at Risk of Hypothermia by means of Active Rewarming Systems

1DEIM, Palermo University, Viale delle Scienze Ed. 9, 90128 Palermo, Italy
2CIAS Laboratory, Research Centre on Physical, Chemical and Microbiological Pollution in High Sterile Rooms, Department of Architecture, Ferrara University, Via Quartieri 8, 44121 Ferrara, Italy

Received 30 March 2014; Revised 31 August 2014; Accepted 4 September 2014; Published 17 November 2014

Academic Editor: Mouldy Sioud

Copyright © 2014 Silvia Costanzo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hypothermia is a common complication in patients undergoing surgery under general anesthesia. It has been noted that, during the first hour of surgery, the patient’s internal temperature () decreases by 0.5–1.5°C due to the vasodilatory effect of anesthetic gases, which affect the body’s thermoregulatory system by inhibiting vasoconstriction. Thus a continuous check on patient temperature must be carried out. The currently most used methods to avoid hypothermia are based on passive systems (such as blankets reducing body heat loss) and on active ones (thermal blankets, electric or hot-water mattresses, forced hot air, warming lamps, etc.). Within a broader research upon the environmental conditions, pollution, heat stress, and hypothermia risk in operating theatres, the authors set up an experimental investigation by using a warming blanket chosen from several types on sale. Their aim was to identify times and ways the human body reacts to the heat flowing from the blanket and the blanket’s effect on the average temperature and, as a consequence, on temperature of the patient. The here proposed methodology could allow surgeons to fix in advance the thermal power to supply through a warming blanket for reaching, in a prescribed time, the desired body temperature starting from a given state of hypothermia.