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Dr Hiebert’s Vet OR Takeaway #1


The 4 Mechanisms of Body Heat Loss in the Operating Room

Hypothermia is the Number 1 complication of general anesthesia in the Veterinary Operating Room. To Prevent animal hypothermia, it is imperative that we understand:

The 4 Mechanisms of Body Heat Loss in the OR:

  1. Radiation the Number 1 cause of heat loss in the OR. This involves the transfer of body heat in the form of infrared energy by electromagnetic waves to another object without the involvement of any direct physical contact. Example - the transfer of body heat to the colder walls of the OR.
  2. Conduction is the direct flow of body heat to a cooler supporting surface because of direct physical contact. Example a patient lying on a cold stainless steel table.
  3. Convection the loss of body heat to the cooler circulating ambient air. Example patient body heat loss to the cold air in the OR
  4. Evaporation body heat is lost with the evaporation of moisture from the skin Example - evaporation of sterile prep solution from the skin)


- Quick Takeaway -

Understand these 4 Mechanisms of Body Heat Loss so that you can prevent Hypothermia in your next patient.

The Four Mechanisms of Heat Loss

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