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Fever and hypothermia represent two populations of sepsis patients and are associated with outside temperature

, Peter Hoffmann, Daniel Schwarzkopf, Christian Scheer, Friedhelm Bach, Marcus Komann, Herwig Gerlach, Manfred Weiss, Matthias Lindner, Hendrik Rüddel,
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Published: 21 October 2021

Abstract: Background Fever and hypothermia have been observed in septic patients. Their influence on prognosis is subject to ongoing debates. Methods We did a secondary analysis of a large clinical dataset from a quality improvement trial. A binary logistic regression model was calculated to assess the association of the thermal response with outcome and a multinomial regression model to assess factors associated with fever or hypothermia. Results With 6542 analyzable cases we observed a bimodal temperature response characterized by fever or hypothermia, normothermia was rare. Hypothermia and high fever were both associated with higher lactate values. Hypothermia was associated with higher mortality, but this association was reduced after adjustment for other risk factors. Age, community-acquired sepsis, lower BMI and lower outside temperatures were associated with hypothermia while bacteremia and higher procalcitonin values were associated with high fever. Conclusions Septic patients show either a hypothermic or a fever response. Whether hypothermia is a maladaptive response, as indicated by the higher mortality in hypothermic patients, or an adaptive response in patients with limited metabolic reserves under colder environmental conditions, remains an open question. Trial registration The original trial whose dataset was analyzed was registered at (NCT01187134) on August 23, 2010, the first patient was included on July 1, 2011.
Keywords: Fever / Sepsis / Outcome / Mortality / Body temperature / PCT / Lactate / Blood cultures / Prognosis

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