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Stroke. 2002 Jul;33(7):1759-62.

Admission body temperature predicts long-term mortality after acute stroke: the Copenhagen Stroke Study.

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Department of Neurology, University Hospital Gentofte, Copenhagen, Denmark.



Body temperature is considered crucial in the management of acute stroke patients. Recently hypothermia applied as a therapy for stroke has been demonstrated to be feasible and safe in acute stroke patients. In the present study, we investigated the predictive role of admission body temperature to the long-term mortality in stroke patients.


We studied 390 patients with acute stroke admitted within 6 hours from stroke onset. Admission clinical characteristics (age, sex, admission stroke severity, admission blood glucose, cardiovascular risk factor profile, and stroke subtype) were recorded for patients with hypothermia (body temperature < or =37 degrees C) versus patients with hyperthermia (body temperature >37 degrees C). Univariately the mortality rates for all patients were studied by Kaplan-Meier statistics. To find independent predictors of long-term mortality for all patients, Cox proportional-hazards models were built. We included all clinical characteristics and body temperature as a continuous variable.


Patients with hyperthermia had more severe strokes and more frequently diabetes, whereas no difference was found for the other clinical characteristics. For all patients mortality rate at 60 months after stroke was higher for patients with hyperthermia (73 per 100 cases versus 59 per 10 cases, P=0.001). When body temperature was studied in a multivariate Cox proportional-hazards model, a 1 degrees C increase of admission body temperature independently predicted a 30% relative increase (95% CI, 4% to 57%) in long-term mortality risk. For 3-month survivors we found no association between body temperature and long-term survival when studied in a multivariate Cox proportional hazard model (hazards ratio, 1.11 per 1 degrees C; 95% CI, 0.82 to 1.52).


Low body temperature on admission is considered to be an independent predictor of good short-term outcome. The present study suggests that admission body temperature seems to be a major determinant even for long-term mortality after stroke. Hypothermic therapy in the early stage in which body temperature is kept low for a longer period after ictus could be a long-lasting neuroprotective measure.

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