Fever in subarachnoid hemorrhage relationship to vasospasm and outcome

J. Oliveira-Filho, M. A. Ezzeddine, A. Z. Segal, F. S. Buonanno, Y. Chang, C. S. Ogilvy, G. Rordorf, L. H. Schwamm, W. J. Koroshetz, Colin T. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the causes of fever in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and examine its relationship to outcome. Background: Fever adversely affects outcome in stroke. Patients with SAH are at risk for cerebral ischemia due to vasospasm (VSP). In these patients, fever may be both caused by, and potentiate, VSP-mediated brain injury. Methods: The authors prospectively studied patients admitted to a neurologic intensive care unit with nontraumatic SAH, documenting Hunt-Hess grade, Fisher group, Glasgow Coma Score, bacterial culture data, daily transcranial Doppler mean velocities, and maximum daily temperatures. Patients were classified as febrile (temperature above 38.3 °C for at least 2 consecutive days) or afebrile (no fever or isolated episodes of temperature above 38.3 °C). VSP was verified by either transcranial Doppler or angiographic criteria. Rankin scale scores on discharge were dichotomized into good (0 to 2) or poor (3 to 6) outcomes. Results: Ninety-two consecutive patients were studied. Thirty-eight patients were classified as febrile. No source for infection was found in 10 of 38 (26%) patients. In a multivariate analysis, three variables independently predicted fever occurrence: ventriculostomy (OR, 8.5 [CI, 2.4 to 29.7]), symptomatic VSP (OR, 5.0 [CI, 1.03 to 24.5]), and older age (OR, 1.75 per 10 years [CI, 1.02 to 3.0]). Poor outcome was related to fever (OR, 1.4 per each day febrile [CI, 1.1 to 1.88]), older age (OR, 1.64 per 10 years [CI, 1.04 to 2.58]), and intubation (OR, 21.8 [CI, 5.6 to 84.5]). Conclusion: Fever in SAH is associated with vasospasm and poor outcome independently of hemorrhage severity or presence of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1299-1304
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 22 2001


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