What is the role of cooling the body (hypothermia) in cardiac surgery?
Hypothermia (lowering of body temperature) decreases the metabolic requirement of vital organs. Hence it is possible to clamp the aorta for a longer period with hypothermia. If a longer procedure time is anticipated, hypothermia is a useful adjunct to cardiovascular surgery. In small infants, hypothermia is used to do surgery under total circulatory arrest. This gives a better surgical field in a small heart by avoiding the tubes used for cardiopulmonary bypass. Cooling can be done using a heart lung machine as well as a hypothermia blanket.