The aim of this study was to identify the clinical parameters indicative of serious etiology of neonatal hyperthermia and to determine the appropriate cutoff value of body temperature (BT) for predicting the need to transfer the newborn to the special care (SC) nursery.
The nursery records of newborns diagnosed with hyperthermia between 2007 and 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. The clinical characteristics of newborns with hyperthermia remained in the nursery were compared with those transferred to the SC nursery. In addition, the receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine the appropriate cutoff BT for predicting further septic workup in the SC nursery.
Among the 92 newborns with hyperthermia evaluated, 30 (32.6%) were transferred to the SC nursery and 62 (67.4%) remained in the nursery. Clinical characteristics associated with transfer to the SC nursery included the highest BT, BT at first measurement during hyperthermia, frequency of hyperthermia, duration of hyperthermia, irritable crying, decreased appetite, poor activity, vomiting with abdominal distension, tachypnea, and tachycardia (all P < .05). BT for predicting the need for transferring newborns with hyperthermia to the SC nursery had an area under the curve of 0.976 (P < .001). A BT of 38 °C was determined as the optimal cutoff value for predicting the need to monitoring for suspicious clinical symptoms (sensitivity (Sn), 93%; specificity (Sp), 87%). Furthermore, BT≥38.2 °C (Sn, 70%; Sp 100%) and BT≤37.8 °C (Sn, 100%; Sp, 61%) respectively were determined as the cutoff values for transferring newborns to the SC nursery or allowing them to remain in the regular nursery.
Our results suggest a BT of 38 °C represents the optimal cutoff indicating newborns for close monitoring for suspicious clinical presentations including irritable crying, decreased appetite, poor activity, vomiting with abdominal distension, tachypnea, and tachycardia. Newborns with BT < 37.8 °C may remain in the nursery but should be transferred to the SC nursery for septic workup and empiric antibiotics if the BT is above 38.2 °C.