The influence of different fever definitions on the rate of fever in neutropenia diagnosed in children with cancer

Ammann, Roland; Teuffel, Marc Oliver; Agyeman, Philipp; Amport, Nadine; Leibundgut, Kurt (2015). The influence of different fever definitions on the rate of fever in neutropenia diagnosed in children with cancer. PLoS ONE, 10(2), e0117528. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0117528

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BACKGROUND The temperature limit defining fever (TLDF) is based on scarce evidence. This study aimed to determine the rate of fever in neutropenia (FN) episodes additionally diagnosed by lower versus standard TLDF. METHODS In a single center using a high TLDF (39.0°C tympanic temperature, LimitStandard), pediatric patients treated with chemotherapy for cancer were observed prospectively. Results of all temperature measurements and CBCs were recorded. The application of lower TLDFs (LimitLow; range, 37.5°C to 38.9°C) versus LimitStandard was simulated in silicon, resulting in three types of FN: simultaneous FN, diagnosed at both limits within 1 hour; earlier FN, diagnosed >1hour earlier at LimitLow; and additional FN, not diagnosed at LimitStandard. RESULTS In 39 patients, 8896 temperature measurements and 1873 CBCs were recorded during 289 months of chemotherapy. Virtually applying LimitStandard resulted in 34 FN diagnoses. The predefined relevantly (≥15%) increased FN rate was reached at LimitLow 38.4°C, with total 44 FN, 23 simultaneous, 11 earlier, and 10 additional (Poisson rate ratioAdditional/Standard, 0.29; 95% lower confidence bound, 0.16). Virtually applying 37.5°C as LimitLow led to earlier FN diagnosis (median, 4.5 hours; 95% CI, 1.0 to 20.8), and to 53 additional FN diagnosed. In 51 (96%) of them, spontaneous defervescence without specific therapy was observed in reality. CONCLUSION Lower TLDFs led to many additional FN diagnoses, implying overtreatment because spontaneous defervescence was observed in the vast majority. Lower TLDFs led as well to relevantly earlier diagnosis in a minority of FN episodes. The question if the high TLDF is not only efficacious but as well safe remains open.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Ammann, Roland; Teuffel, Marc Oliver; Agyeman, Philipp and Leibundgut, Kurt


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




André Schaller

Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2016 11:03

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2016 22:02

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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