Central temperature is usually tightly regulated in human beings. Anesthesia alters the normal thermoregulatory controls of the body. Intraoperatively, mild degrees of hypothermia may provide some cerebral protection. However, the risk of organ dysfunction and shivering require that the anesthesiologist be prepared to treat severe hypothermia. Appropriate measures such as warning the operating room and using forced air blankets can prevent both intraoperative hypothermia and postoperative shivering. The use of temperature measurement is not limited to the operative and immediate recovery periods. Anesthesiologists practicing in intensive care units and in pain clinics use temperature monitoring as a diagnostic tool in a variety of situations.
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