Pyrexia

This may be due to infection preceding the stroke (consider endocarditis and encephalitis), the stroke itself, or, most commonly, a complication such as a chest or urinary infection or venous thromboembolism. Obviously the underlying cause should be sought and treated but it is probably sensible to try to reduce the temperature using simple means (for example, antipyretic drugs) in any case since this is likely to make the patient more comfortable and there is a possibility, based on animal models and the observation that raised temperatures are associated with poor outcomes in patients,64-67 that a raised temperature may exacerbate any ischaemic cerebral damage.68 There are no published randomised trials of cooling therapy yet,69 for patients with either a raised or normal temperature, but there is at least one ongoing randomised study, COOL AID 1 (see www.strokecenter.org/ trials/), and there are published small open studies.70

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