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September 20, 1976

Monitoring Temperature During Anesthesia-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston

JAMA. 1976;236(12):1355. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270130018016

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First, the use of oral pharyngeal or axillary temperature probes in our experience is a very benign procedure—the benefits far outweighing the disadvantages.

Second,although my letter implied that the only reason to monitor temperature routinely was to detect malignant hyperpyrexia, this is certainly not the case; hypothermia and hyperthermia have multiple etiologies certainly, and such monitoring allows the early detection of trends and appropriate changes in patient management. We see more problems from hypothermia secondary to cold operating room environments and the administration of unwarmed intravenous fluids and blood than problems with hyperthermia. An adequately functioning temperature-monitoring device is a much more "effective" method of assessing temperature than simply "feeling" a patient's skin in the operating room.

Third, even though elevation in temperature is a relatively late-developing sign in the syndrome of malignant hyperpyrexia, the early signs, such as tachycardia, tachypnea, arrhythmias and "tightness" have etiologies that may