The Effects of Perioperative Hypothermia and the Duration of Anesthesia on Postoperative Wound Infection Rate in Clean Wounds: A Retrospective Study

Vet Surg. Mar-Apr 2000;29(2):123-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950x.2000.00123.x.


Objective: To determine the effects of hypothermia and duration of anesthesia on the infection rate in clean wounds in dogs and cats.

Study design: Retrospective clinical study.

Sample population: Seven hundred seventy-seven dogs and cats undergoing clean surgical procedures.

Methods: Records of animals prospectively evaluated for postoperative wound infection were retrospectively evaluated for the prevalence of perioperative hypothermia. Body temperatures during the perioperative period and the duration of surgery and anesthesia were recorded. Data were analyzed to identify differences between animals with infected and uninfected wounds and multiple logistic regression modeling was used to evaluate the independent contribution of risk factors to the incidence of postoperative wound infection.

Results: No statistically significant differences were found in the analysis of temperature data between animals with infected and uninfected wounds. Duration of anesthesia was significantly greater in animals with wound infections (P = .01). Multiple logistic regression modeling identified duration of anesthesia as a risk factor for postoperative wound infection independent of the duration of surgery.

Conclusions: In animals with clean surgical wounds, mild perioperative hypothermia is not a significant risk factor for postoperative wound infection. The duration of anesthesia, however, is a significant risk factor independent of the duration of surgery.

Clinical relevance: To decrease the incidence of postoperative wound infection, the duration of anesthesia should be minimized. Surgical time, as well as the time required for ancillary diagnostic tests while under anesthesia should, therefore, be kept to a reasonable minimum.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / etiology*
  • Cats
  • Dog Diseases / etiology*
  • Dogs
  • Hypothermia / complications
  • Hypothermia / veterinary*
  • Logistic Models
  • Perioperative Care
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Records / veterinary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / veterinary*
  • Time Factors