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December 11, 1981

Routine Temperature Monitoring During Anesthesia

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois at the Medical Center Chicago

JAMA. 1981;246(23):2678. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320230012007

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To the Editor.—  Malignant hyperthermia, or more accurately, acute familial peranesthetic rhabdomyolysis, still causes death and disability because of its delayed recognition. In 1969 we recommended routine temperature monitoring in all patients undergoing anesthesia with triggering agents, namely, all potent inhalational anesthetics and succinylcholine. A survey that I recently conducted showed that only 60% of anesthesiologists use routine temperature monitoring in adults. Frequently the high cost of continuous temperature monitoring is quoted as an excuse for neglecting temperature monitoring. The introduction of liquid crystal thermography has brought down the cost to a negligible level, $1.50 per patient, if a temperature sensor tape is used during anesthesia. In view of the facts that (1) there is a high mortality (35%) despite the recently introduced intravenous dantrolene therapy, that (2) there is an incidence of 1:7,000 to 1:15,000 in the anesthetized population that is not negligible, and that (3) there is a