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November 1979

Fever PatternsTheir Lack of Clinical Significance

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Department of Medicine (Infectious Disease Section), Veterans Administration Hospital, Houston.

Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(11):1225-1228. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630480015009

Fever patterns were studied prospectively in 200 consecutive patients referred for infectious disease consultation and retrospectively in 204 patients with selected infectious or noninfectious diseases. Most patients had remittent or intermittent fever, which, when due to infection, usually followed diurnal variation. Hectic fever occurred less commonly but was observed in patients with all categories of infectious or noninfectious diseases. Although hectic fevers were seen more frequently in patients who had documented bacteremia, there were many nonbacteremic subjects who had this pattern and others without this pattern who had bacteremia. Sustained fever nearly always occurred in patients with Gram-negative pneumonia or CNS damage, although some patients with these diseases had other patterns as well. Our data suggest that, with the possible exception of sustained fever in Gram-negative pneumonia or CNS damage, the fever pattern is not likely to be helpful diagnostically.

(Arch Intern Med 139:1225-1228, 1979)