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Nicholas M. Mohr, MD; Kevin C. Doerschug, MD, FCCP
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From the Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Critical Care, Department of Anesthesia (Dr Mohr), and the Division of Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine (Dr Doerschug), University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

Correspondence to: Nicholas M. Mohr, MD, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 200 Hawkins Dr, 1008 RCP, Iowa City, IA 52242; e-mail: nicholas-mohr@uiowa.edu


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The authors have reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;145(3):667. doi:10.1378/chest.13-2809
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To the Editor:

We appreciate the comments raised by Dr Shen regarding our editorial on fever control in septic shock.1 Dr Shen specifically highlights an issue with our interpretation of the data presented by Lee et al2 on mortality related to fever. Although the authors concluded that mortality was not significantly associated with maximum temperature, they included afebrile and hypothermic patients in their analysis. Among subjects with fever, there was a significant linear dose-response relationship (P = .02); that is, mortality was 16.9% for a maximum temperature of 37.5°C to 38.4°C and > 30% for a temperature > 39.5°C. Indeed, the magnitude of fever was associated with increased mortality in this report.

The report by Lee et al2 does not stand alone to illustrate this association. Hodgin and Sanford3 reported that high fever (> 39.4°C) in gram-negative rod bacteremia was associated with a mortality rate of 48%, whereas less extreme fever (37.2°C-38.3°C) was associated with mortality of only 33%. In a cohort of critically ill surgical patients, peak temperature was the most powerful predictor of mortality, and nonsurvivors were more likely to have infection (P = .02) and higher temperatures (P < .001).4 Among patients in the ICU without neurologic injury, the magnitude of fever was strongly associated with mortality (P < .001).5 In a very large study over 7 years (N = 20,466), Laupland et al6 found that high fever was associated with increased mortality.

Dr Shen also points out that the early survival advantage in the trial by Schortgen et al7 was attenuated over time. Although that is accurate, the intervention was time limited to 48 h. We agree that it would be prudent to power a larger trial to detect mortality differences later in the course of disease, which the trial by Schortgen et al7 was not powered to detect. Even so, no existing data support the notion that induced normothermia by external cooling results in the detrimental effects that fever proponents suggest it must. Despite excellent theory, cooling to normothermia has never been shown to increase mortality.

References

Mohr NM, Doerschug KC. Point: should antipyretic therapy be given routinely to febrile patients in septic shock? Yes. Chest. 2013;144(4):1096-1098. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Lee BH, Inui D, Suh GY, et al; Fever and Antipyretic in Critically ill patients Evaluation (FACE) Study Group. Association of body temperature and antipyretic treatments with mortality of critically ill patients with and without sepsis: multi-centered prospective observational study. Crit Care. 2012;16(1):R33. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Hodgin UG, Sanford JP. Gram-negative rod bacteremia. An analysis of 100 patients. Am J Med. 1965;39(6):952-960. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Barie PS, Hydo LJ, Eachempati SR. Causes and consequences of fever complicating critical surgical illness. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2004;5(2):145-159. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Kiekkas P, Velissaris D, Karanikolas M, et al. Peak body temperature predicts mortality in critically ill patients without cerebral damage. Heart Lung. 2010;39(3):208-216. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Laupland KB, Shahpori R, Kirkpatrick AW, Ross T, Gregson DB, Stelfox HT. Occurrence and outcome of fever in critically ill adults. Crit Care Med. 2008;36(5):1531-1535. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Schortgen F, Clabault K, Katsahian S, et al. Fever control using external cooling in septic shock: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012;185(10):1088-1095. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 

Figures

Tables

References

Mohr NM, Doerschug KC. Point: should antipyretic therapy be given routinely to febrile patients in septic shock? Yes. Chest. 2013;144(4):1096-1098. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Lee BH, Inui D, Suh GY, et al; Fever and Antipyretic in Critically ill patients Evaluation (FACE) Study Group. Association of body temperature and antipyretic treatments with mortality of critically ill patients with and without sepsis: multi-centered prospective observational study. Crit Care. 2012;16(1):R33. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Hodgin UG, Sanford JP. Gram-negative rod bacteremia. An analysis of 100 patients. Am J Med. 1965;39(6):952-960. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Barie PS, Hydo LJ, Eachempati SR. Causes and consequences of fever complicating critical surgical illness. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2004;5(2):145-159. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Kiekkas P, Velissaris D, Karanikolas M, et al. Peak body temperature predicts mortality in critically ill patients without cerebral damage. Heart Lung. 2010;39(3):208-216. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Laupland KB, Shahpori R, Kirkpatrick AW, Ross T, Gregson DB, Stelfox HT. Occurrence and outcome of fever in critically ill adults. Crit Care Med. 2008;36(5):1531-1535. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Schortgen F, Clabault K, Katsahian S, et al. Fever control using external cooling in septic shock: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012;185(10):1088-1095. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
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