Postoperative shivering: the influence of body temperature

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7008.764 (Published 23 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:764
  1. Angus W A Crossley
  1. Senior lecturer in anaesthesia University Department of Anaesthesia, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH

    May be related more to peripheral than core temperature and can be reduced by space blankets

    Postoperative shivering is common.1 During recovery from anaesthesia increased muscular activity increases oxygen consumption as much as fivefold. Hypoxaemia, lactic acidosis, and hypercarbia may then complicate recovery from anaesthesia,2 at a time when the patient is at risk of hypoxaemia from other causes. Even without these complications patients find shivering uncomfortable, and preventing the syndrome is clearly desirable.

    Why do patients shiver postoperatively? It is tempting to assume that heat loss is contributory, exacerbated by peripheral vasodilatation that in turn is induced by …

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