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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Global Spine Journal

Volume 6, Issue 6, September 2016, Pages 607-614.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1570751. Copyright © Savage et al.


STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence, pathogenesis, and clinical outcomes related to neurogenic fevers following traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI).

METHODS: A systematic review of the literature was performed on thermodysregulation secondary to acute traumatic SCI in adult patients. A literature search was performed using PubMed (MEDLINE), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Scopus. Using strict inclusion and exclusion criteria, seven relevant articles were obtained.

RESULTS: The incidence of fever of all origins (both known and unknown) after SCI ranged from 22.5 to 71.7% with a mean incidence of 50.6% and a median incidence of 50.0%. The incidence of fever of unknown origin (neurogenic fever) ranged from 2.6 to 27.8% with a mean incidence of 8.0% and a median incidence of 4.7%. Cervical and thoracic spinal injuries were more commonly associated with fever than lumbar injuries. In addition, complete injuries had a higher incidence of fever than incomplete injuries. The pathogenesis of neurogenic fever after acute SCI is not thoroughly understood.

CONCLUSION: Neurogenic fevers are relatively common following an acute SCI; however, there is little in the scientific literature to help physicians prevent or treat this condition. The paucity of research underscored by this review demonstrates the need for further studies with larger sample sizes, focusing on incidence rate, clinical outcomes, and pathogenesis of neurogenic fever following acute traumatic SCI.

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