Bohman LE, Levine JM.; Curr Opin Crit Care. 2014 Apr;20(2):182-8.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Fever is common in the ICU among patients with severe brain injury. Fever has been consistently shown to exacerbate brain injuries in animal models and has been consistently associated with poor outcome in human studies. However, whether fever control improves outcome and the ideal means of fever control remain unknown. This review will address recent literature on the impact of fever on severe brain injury and on interventions to maintain normothermia.

RECENT FINDINGS: Current guidelines generally recommend maintenance of normothermia after brain injury but have scant recommendations on methods to do this. Observational trials have continued to demonstrate the association between fever and poor outcome after severe brain injury. Recent trials have shown the efficacy of more aggressive approaches to fever reduction, whereas a large randomized trial showed the relative ineffectiveness of acetaminophen alone for fever control. Several studies have also described the impact of fever and of fever control on brain physiology.

SUMMARY: The value of therapeutic normothermia in the neurocritical care unit (NCCU) is increasingly accepted, yet prospective trials that demonstrate a functional benefit to patients are lacking.

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