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Ann Hematol. 2015 May;94(5):857-64. doi: 10.1007/s00277-014-2273-z. Epub 2014 Dec 18.

Association between early peak temperature and mortality in neutropenic sepsis.

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Wellington Blood & Cancer Centre, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington, New Zealand,


Fever is often the first sign of neutropenic infection, but its prognostic impact has not been established. We aimed to determine whether early peak temperature is associated with mortality in patients with neutropenic sepsis admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). We used a database of admissions to 157 ICUs in Australia and New Zealand between 2005 and 2013 to seek an association between peak temperature within the first 24 h in ICU and in-hospital mortality in neutropenic and non-neutropenic sepsis. Odds ratios for in-hospital death were calculated for four temperature bands, adjusting for illness severity. Two patient cohorts were identified: neutropenic sepsis (N = 4027) and non-neutropenic sepsis (N = 114,040). In-hospital mortality was higher in neutropenic sepsis than non-neutropenic sepsis. In both cohorts, early peak temperature below 36.5 °C was associated with significantly increased mortality compared to normothermia. Among non-neutropenic patients, an early peak temperature of 37.5 °C or higher was associated with reduced mortality compared to normothermia. In contrast, in patients with neutropenic sepsis, fever was not associated with reduced mortality compared to normothermia. Similar findings were seen in a subgroup of the neutropenic sepsis cohort with a documented haematological malignancy. In neutropenic sepsis patients admitted to ICU, a temperature below 36.5 °C is associated with increased mortality compared with normothermia. In contrast to non-neutropenic sepsis, fever was not associated with a significant reduction in mortality in neutropenic patients. Interventional studies are needed to determine whether physical or pharmacological measures to reduce fever influence outcomes during neutropenic infections.

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