Rufiange, M., Leung, V. S.Y., Simpson, K. et al. 2020. Prewarming followed by active warming is superior to passive warming in preventing hypothermia for short procedures in adult rats (Rattus norvegicus) under isoflurane anesthesia. JAALAS 59(4), 377-383.
General anesthesia is a common procedure in laboratory rats; however, it impairs thermoregulation, rapidly leading to hypothermia as warm core blood is distributed to the cooler periphery. The protective strategy of prewarming before the onset of anesthesia delays hypothermia, but only for a short period. This prospective, randomized, cross-over, experimental study in adult male and female SD rats (n = 8) was designed to compare passive (fleece blanket) and active (temperature controlled heating pad) warming. Initial treatment order was randomized, with a cross-over after a minimum 5 d washout period. Both groups underwent a period of prewarming in a warming box to increase core temperature by 1% (median 0.4 °C). At completion of prewarming, general anesthesia was induced and maintained for 30 min with isoflurane carried in oxygen. Core temperature was monitored for a further 30 min after anesthesia. Active warming resulted in higher core temperatures during anesthesia. During passive warming, hypothermia occurred after approximately 30 min of anesthesia and continued into recovery. In contrast, active warming prevented hypothermia. Prewarming followed by passive warming delayed hypothermia for approximately 30 min, but active warming was more effective at maintaining normothermia both during and after general anesthesia.