Effects of poststroke pyrexia on stroke outcome : a meta-analysis of studies in patients

Stroke. 2000 Feb;31(2):410-4. doi: 10.1161/01.str.31.2.410.


Background and purpose: The effect of pyrexia on cerebral ischemia has been extensively studied in animals. In humans, however, such studies are small and the results conflicting. We undertook a meta-analysis using all such published studies on the effect of hyperthermia on stroke outcome.

Methods: Three databases were searched for all published studies that examined the relationship of raised temperature after stroke onset and eventual outcome. Combined probability values and odds ratios were obtained. A heterogeneity test was performed to ensure that the data were suitable for such an analysis. Morbidity and mortality were used as outcome measures.

Results: Nine studies were identified totaling 3790 patients, providing our study with 99% power to detect a 9% increase in morbidity and 84% power to detect a 1% increase in mortality for the pyrexial group. The combined odds ratio for mortality was 1.19 (95% CI, 0.99 to 1.43). A heterogeneity test was highly nonsignificant (P>0.05) for mortality, suggesting that the data were sufficiently similar to be meta-analyzed. Combined probability values were highly significant for both morbidity (P<0.0001) and mortality (P<0. 00000001).

Conclusions: The results from this meta-analysis suggest that pyrexia after stroke onset is associated with a marked increase in morbidity and mortality. Measures should be taken to combat fever in the clinical setting to prevent stroke progression. The possible benefit of therapeutic hypothermia in the management of acute stroke should be further investigated.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fever*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / mortality*
  • Stroke / physiopathology