It has been estimated that nosocomial fever occurs in approximately one-third of hospitalized patients. The incidence is even higher in critically-ill patients in whom both infectious and noninfectious etiologies of fever are common. Polypeptide cytokines (endogenous pyrogens) such as interleukin-1b (IL-1b), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) act directly on the hypothalamus to affect a fever response by promoting an increase in heat generation and a decrease in heat loss. There is widespread acceptance that in most if not all critically ill neurologic patients fever should be treated but still it is not clear if fever per se in nonneurologic critically ill patients should be treated too. We review physical and pharmacological methods presently utilized to treat fever in critically ill patients.
Keywords: Fever, critically-ill patients, NSAIDs, acetaminophen, steroids, diclofenac
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