Defective thermoregulation after traumatic brain injury. A single subject evaluation

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1993 Oct;72(5):281-5. doi: 10.1097/00002060-199310000-00006.


Central fever is a known complication of traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly in association with brain stem involvement. Chronic deficits in thermoregulation after TBI have not been reported. We describe a patient who had central fevers acutely after injury, but developed intermittent temperature elevations during thermal stress in the post-acute phase. A prospective evaluation of the patient's temperature control was conducted. The patient stayed in the laboratory for two half-day evaluation sessions. On the first day, the room temperature was raised by 10 degrees F each hour and rectal temperature was recorded hourly. On the second day, the room temperature was lowered by 10 degrees each hour in a similar fashion. The patient's core temperature rose above normal in the warm environment but did not drop in the cold environment. This suggests that the patient had a chronic deficit in either sensing temperature elevations or activating heat dissipation mechanisms under thermal stress.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Brain Stem / injuries*
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Fever / etiology*
  • Fever / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Multiple Trauma / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence