Monitoring intrathecal temperature: Does core temperature reflect intrathecal temperature during aortic surgery?

M. Kumar, M. J. Murray, E. Werner, W. L. Lanier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Paraplegia secondary to spinal cord ischemia is a common occurrence following proximal aortic surgery. Recent research has suggested that modest reductions in neuronal temperature (ie, a 2 to 5°C reduction) may protect the central nervous system from ischemic injury, and several medical centers are now using modest whole body hypothermia in an attempt to protect the spinal cord during aortic surgery. However, to date, there are no reports to validate that reductions in core temperature will reduce intrathecal temperature during aortic surgery. In the present study, the correlation between core temperature, assessed with a pulmonary artery thermistor, and intrathecal temperature, assessed with a lumbar intrathecal thermocouple, were evaluated. Both devices were corrected for bias using a mercury thermometer standard. It was found that there was excellent correlation between pulmonary artery temperature and intrathecal temperature during all portions of the surgery (r = 0.948; P < 0.001). The regression line for the relationship was defined by the formula: intrathecal temperature = 0.98 × pulmonary artery temperature + 0.65. Furthermore, there was excellent correlation between bias-corrected intrathecal temperature and the temperature measured by commercially available, bias-uncorrected thermistors placed in the esophagus (r = 0.869; P 5 ≤ 0.001), urinary bladder (r = 0.873; P < 0.001), and pulmonary artery (r = 0.929; P < 0.001). Based on these data, it is concluded that there is a close correlation between intrathecal temperature and core temperatures during proximal aortic surgery, and commercially available thermistors provide sufficient accuracy to assess spinal cord cooling during attempts to protect the spinal cord from ischemic injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1994


  • aneurysm
  • nesopharyngeal urinary bladder
  • pulmonary artery
  • spinal cord
  • temperature
  • thorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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