Neurogenic Fever: Review of Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Management

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Fever is a relatively common occurrence among patients in the intensive care setting. Although the most obvious and concerning etiology is sepsis, drug reactions, venous thromboembolism, and postsurgical fevers are all on the differential diagnosis. There is abundant evidence that fever is detrimental in acute neurologic injury. Worse outcomes are reported in acute stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and traumatic brain injury. In addition to the various etiologies of fever in the intensive care setting, neurologic illness is a risk factor for neurogenic fevers. This primarily occurs in subarachnoid hemorrhage and traumatic brain injury, with hypothalamic injury being the proposed mechanism. Paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity is another source of hyperthermia commonly seen in the population with traumatic brain injury. This review focuses on the detrimental effects of fever on the neurologically injured as well as the risk factors and diagnosis of neurogenic fever.

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