Temperature control in critically ill patients with fever: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Abdullah Sakkat, Mustafa Alquraini, Jafar Aljazeeri, Mohammed A.M. Farooqi, Fayez Alshamsi, Waleed Alhazzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Fever is frequently encountered in ICU. It is unclear if targeted temperature control is beneficial in critically ill patients with suspected or confirmed infection. We conducted a systemic review and meta-analysis to answer this question. Methods: We systematically reviewed major databases before January 2020 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared antipyretic with placebo for temperature control in non-neurocritical ill adult patients with suspected or confirmed infection. Outcomes of interest were 28-day mortality, temperature level, hospital mortality, length of stay, shock reversal, and patient comfort. Result: 13 RCTs enrolling 1963 patients were included. No difference in 28-day mortality between antipyretic compared with placebo (risk ratio [RR] 1.03; 95% CI 0.79–1.35). Lower temperature levels were achieved in the antipyretic group (MD [mean difference] -0.41; 95% CI -0.66 to −0.16). Antipyretic use did not affect the risk of hospital mortality (RR 0.97; 95% CI 0.73–1.30), ICU length of stay (MD -0.07; 95% CI -0.70 to 0.56), or shock reversal (RR 1.11; 95% CI 0.76–1.62). Conclusion: Antipyretic therapy effectively reduces temperature in non-neurocritical ill patients but does not reduce mortality or impact other outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Acetaminophen
  • Critical illness
  • Fever
  • Mortality
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical cooling
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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