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Original Contributions
December 21, 1964

Hyperthermia During Anesthesia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Anesthesia, University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

JAMA. 1964;190(12):1029-1032. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070250011002

The development of hyperthermia in an anesthetized patient can be a serious threat to the patient's life. Once the temperature rise begins, it proceeds at an ever increasing rate. It may go unrecognized until a sudden deterioration in the patient's condition calls attention to his plight. The physiologic abnormalities associated with the hyperthermia include dehydration, hypotension, hypoxia, and acidosis. Treatment must be prompt if irreversible tissue damage or death are to be avoided, and includes rapid cooling, rehydration, and correction of the electrolyte and acid-base abnormalities. Prevention must include adequate evaluation and treatment of preoperative temperature elevations and hypermetabolic states. Use of intraoperative temperature monitoring would enable the anesthesiologist to recognize and treat the elevated temperature before it climbed seriously high and led to physiological decompensation.