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Med Princ Pract. 2019 Dec 2. doi: 10.1159/000505126. [Epub ahead of print]

Admission body temperature in critical ill patients as an independent risk predictor for overall outcome.



Body temperature (BT) abnormalities are frequently observed in critically ill patients. We aimed to assess admission BT in a heterogeneous medical critically ill patient population admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) as new prognostic parameter for intra-ICU and long-term mortality.


A total of 6514 medical patients (64 ± 15 years) admitted to a German ICU between 2004 and 2009 were included. Follow-up of patients was performed retrospectively. Association of admission BT and both intra-ICU and long-term mortality were investigated by logistic regression respectively.


Patients with hypothermia (<36°C BT) were clinically sicker and had more pronounced signs of multi-organ failure. Admission BT was associated with adverse overall outcome, with a 2-fold increase for hyperthermia (mortality 12%; OR 1.80 95%CI 1.43-2.26; p<0.001) and a 4-fold increase in risk for hypothermia (mortality 24%; OR 4.05 95%CI 3.38-4.85; p<0.001) with respect to intra-ICU and long-term mortality. Moreover, hypothermia was even more harmful as hyperthermia and both were strongly associated with intra-ICU mortality, especially in patients admitted with acute coronary syndrome (hypothermia: (HR 6.12 95%CI 4.12-9.11; p<0.001; hyperthermia: OR 2.70 95% CI 1.52-4.79; p<0.001).


Admission BT is an independent risk predictor for both overall intra-ICU and long-term mortality in critically ill patients admitted to an ICU. Therefore, BT at admission might not only constitute as a parameter for individual risk stratification but can also influence individual therapeutic decision making.

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