Temperature monitoring in digital replantation

C R Stirrat, A V Seaber, J R Urbaniak, D S Bright
Journal of Hand Surgery 1978, 3 (4): 342-7
Postoperative monitoring of replanted and revascularized digits with skin temperature probes was performed on the 20 patients admitted to the Duke University Medical Center Orthopaedic Replantation Service from April to July, 1977. Using multiple probes, temperatures were recorded for the replanted digit, a control digit on the same hand, and the dressing which represented the ambient temperature. In addition, the following simultaneous clinical inspections were performed on the digits: capillary refill, skin color, turgor, audibility of arterial Doppler tones, and amplitude of pulp pressure tracing. Temperatures of the replanted digits were in the range of 26.0 degrees to 35.0 degrees C. Control temperatures remained relatively stable, in the range of 33.0 degrees to 35.0 degrees C. From the authors' experience the patterns of temperature change which signaled changes in perfusion of the replanted digit and possible poor prognosis were (1) the temperature of the replanted digit dropping more than 2.5 degrees C while the control temperature stayed constant; (2) the temperature of the replanted digit dropping below 30.0 degrees C for longer than 1 hour; and (3) the control temperature dropping below 30.0 degrees C with no correctable cause found.

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