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[Review] Perioperative thermoregulation and heat balance

Core body temperature is normally tightly regulated to within a few tenths of a degree. The major thermoregulatory defences in humans are sweating, arteriovenous shunt vasoconstriction, and shivering. The core temperature triggering each response defines its activation threshold. General anaesthetics greatly impair thermoregulation, synchronously reducing the thresholds for vasoconstriction and shivering. Neuraxial anaesthesia also impairs central thermoregulatory control, and prevents vasoconstriction and shivering in blocked areas.