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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versión On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versión impresa ISSN 0256-9574

SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.103 no.9 Cape Town ene. 2013




Temperature regulation in emergency, surgical and critical care



Timothy HardcastleI; Melanie StanderII; Eric HodgsonIII; Dean GopalanIV; Nicola KalafatisV

IPresident of the Trauma Society of South Africa; and Division of Trauma, Department of Surgery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
IIPresident of the Emergency Medicine Society of SA; and Division of Emergency Medicine, Stellenbosch and Cape Town universities, Cape Town, South Africa
IIIChief Anaesthesiologist, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, Durban, South Africa; and Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
IVSA Society of Anaesthesia; and Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
VKwaZulu-Natal Chairperson of the Critical Care Society of SA; and Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa




To the Editor: Recently it was brought to the attention the Trauma Society of South Africa (SA) and the Emergency Medicine Society of SA that a certain unnamed medical scheme has produced a document that limits the use of patient warming devices in the care of people covered by that particular funder (Table 1).

We, as senior representatives of a number of relevant professional societies, are concerned that the recommendations of this funder will be adopted by other funders and that this will place patients at risk of increased morbidity and even potential mortality, since it is well known from recent literature that maintenance of a core temperature of around 36.5°C is associated with improved outcomes.

More importantly, we have noted that temperature regulation is inadequately addressed in the National Core Standards and therefore with these two issues at hand we decided to undertake a literature review and propose a best-practice guideline to enable clinically relevant indications for the use of temperature regulation practices and devices. The resultant review article[1] is published in this issue of the SAMJ so as to effectively disseminate the important information about this issue to South African healthcare practitioners.


1. Hardcastle TC, Stander M, Kalafatis N, Hodgson RE, Gopalan D. External patient temperature control in emergency centres, trauma centres, intensive care units and operating theatres: A multi-society literature review. S Afr Med J 2013;103(9):609-611. []        [ Links ]

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