Temperature regulation in women undergoing emergency caesarean section is a complex topic about which there is a paucity of evidence-based recommendations. The adverse effects of inadvertent peri-operative hypothermia are well described. Hyperthermia is also associated with adverse neonatal outcomes, an increased risk of obstetric intervention and increased treatment for suspected sepsis. We conducted a multi-centre observational cohort study to identify the prevalence of hypothermia and hyperthermia during emergency caesarean section.
Participants undergoing emergency caesarean section were recruited across 14 sites in the UK. The primary end point was maternal temperature in the recovery room. Temperature was measured using a zero heat-flux temperature monitoring device.
Two hundred and sixty-five participants were recruited over a 12-month period. The prevalence of hypothermia (37.5°C) was 14.7% on admission to recovery. The prevalence of hypothermia, normothermia, and hyperthermia differed among type of anaesthesia: 71.4% of the hypothermic group had received a spinal anaesthetic whereas 76.9% of the hyperthermic group had received epidural top-up anaesthesia. There was a significant decrease in maternal temperature between the time of delivery and admission to the recovery room of 0.20°C (95% CI 0.15 to 0.25, P<0.001).
Both hypothermia and hyperthermia are prevalent findings in mothers who undergo emergency caesarean section. Therefore, accurate temperature measurement is essential to ensure that an appropriate intra-operative temperature management strategy is employed.

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