The time-course of body temperature in acute stroke
Objective: Body temperature on admission has been reported to be of prognostic significance in acute stroke in several studies. Spontaneous hyperthermia has been associated with poor outcome mainly based on body temperature measured 24 - 48 hours after stroke onset. The aim of this study was to describe the time-course of body temperature in the first hours after stroke onset and its relation to stroke severity and outcome. Patients and Methods: This work is based on 762 consecutive patients admitted within 6 hours of stroke onset (median: 2 hours) to an acute stroke unit. Body temperature was registered on admission and every 2 hours in the first 24 hours. Stroke severity was assessed by Scandinavian Stroke Scale on admission and functional outcome by modified Rankin Scale after 3 months. Results: In the severe stroke patients, both ischaemic and haemorrhagic, we observed a rise in body temperature within 6 - 8 hours after stroke onset. No rise was observed in the less severe strokes. Temperature >= 37.5°C, observed in 4.5 %, on admission within 6 hours of stroke onset was not associated with poor out-come. Conclusion: Severe stroke heralds rise in body temperature within 6 - 8 hours, while temperature remains normal in mild strokes unless infection occurs. Elevated temperature on admission had no prognostic significance in this study.