To the Editor.—
Occasionally the differential diagnosis of the condition of a patient with a fever of unknown origin will include factitial fever.1,2 Factitial fever is an elevated thermometer reading but normal body temperature due to fraudulent manipulation of the thermometer.3,4 Once this diagnosis is entertained, however, it may be difficult to prove. One method of proof which has been suggested many times is simultaneous determination of the oral or rectal and freshly voided urine temperature.1-4 The purpose of this paper is to examine the accuracy and practicality of this procedure on a busy general medicine ward.
Materials and Methods.—
The general medicine ward of the 483rd USAF Hospital, Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, is a 33-bed open ward. Staffed by one to two nurses and three to five corpsmen (orderlies) during the day, it admits from 5 to 15 clinically ill male servicemen daily, over half of
Ellenbogen C, Nord BM. Freshly Voided Urine Temperature: A Test for Factitial Fever. JAMA. 1972;219(7):912. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190330070028