Fevers In CCU

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    I am a new grad in a CCU and we deal with post surgical as well as transplant patients. Needless to say I'm always trying to learn more thing in my position!

    So my patient has Clebsiella pneumonia following an ECMO de-canulation and continues to have a fever of 103. I've already given Tylenol and want an order for something else so my patients fever doesn't get even higher.
    Call doc on infectious disease following them and the doc says that they are not going to treat a fever. That its the bodies reaction and needs to be that high. They'd actually rather me not even give the Tylenol because the Tylenol should just be used for analgesic use and not for fever when the patient is incubated and on IV meds for pain.

    My preceptor and I were very surprised by this little lesson and I want to know if anyone else has had experience with this?? Or any other experience with docs like this?
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  4. 0
    I don't know... As a new grad in my ccu, I'd be having the same reaction although, I would look for an alternative in this case such as a hyperthermia blanket. If the doc wants no pharmacological Tx, there must be a darn good reason with a fever at that level. I understand that they not want to mask it, but it's getting dangerous at that point.
  5. 0
    Some of our patients are allowed to run high, but not that high. I agree with the previous poster though, this is a time to use nursing measures. In my state you need an order for a cooling blanket, but ice packs are open game. A fan and a wet head works fairly quickly too, just don't let the temp go too low. Fevers are good when controlled.
  6. 0
    Cooling blanket. I had a septic patient that got up to 104. I was nervous but with tylenol suppository and cooling blanket, it took all shift for the temp to climb back down. I thought we wanted to bring fever down, so we don't fry the patient's brain.
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    Treating fevers is tricky.. The main reason is what the ID doc told you. Many don't want a fever treated. We have one doc that will not order tylenol unless the fever is greater than 103.9. A fever is the body's natural defense and a fever of under 104 will not fry the brain in an adult pt (not sure about peds). However the pt should have been pan cultured and antibiotics started.
    turnforthenurseRN and Guttercat like this.
  8. 1
    I agree with Sun, treating fevers is tricky business. I assume this patient had been pan-cultured and was on ABX. That said Klebsiella is a nasty bug that basically destroys the lungs. It is also becoming more resistant to carbipenem (sp?) which is the ABX of last resort. I can see the ID docs rationale in wanting to use the fever to help kill the bug.

    Critical patient's are just ripe for colonization. Did the pt. just begin spiking fevers or have they been febrile for awhile? How old are the cultures? Is it possible they may have picked up yet another bug? Just some food for thought.

    If the patient was hemo-dynamically stable I would have probably followed the ID docs order but I would have asked him/her at what number do we start treating this fever? Also and I am not saying this is the case in this situation it has been my experience that specialists sometimes only treat their specialty and not the whole picture. I may have ran this by the intensivist to see if they agree with this approach.

    Sounds like you had a super sick patient on your hands!
    2BRNinOK likes this.
  9. 3
    The patient was cultured and nothing new grew. Nice thing is I had the patient again today and of course talked to the same ID doc.

    When I asked about parameters, he said: I'm not going to treat a symptom with a drug that is not used for treating fevers.

    My preceptor introduced me to the delightful Rubbing Alcohol bath?? This was the first time I'd heard of this and surprisingly it brought my patients fever from 103 to 99. So much for old wives tales! Has anyone heard about this??
  10. 1
    An oldie but goodie remedy comes through again!!!

    Just be careful about you and your pt inhaling the fumes. Nasty!
    Guttercat likes this.
  11. 0
    interesting. I work peds and was always taught that fever increases metabolic & myocardial demand and to reduce them as much as possible. Start with tylenol, cool washcloths, ice packs and resort to a cooling blanket if necessary
  12. 2
    Ibuprofen is also an antipyretic - don't know about its use in peds though. But I've been liking it better than tylenol for a while.

    The idea of letting a fever run its course as a therapeutic approach makes sense. As it was once explained to me, an elevated temp will kill' the 'bad' germs. Germs need a favorable environment in which to survive. Their temperature range window cannot allow much room for variation. Raise the temp and it's like 'cooking' the germs and thus destroying them.

    Kinda like cooking chicken to kill off salmonella!!!

    At least that was the way it was explained to me a looooong time ago. I know in LTC, many of our standing orders for tylenol require a temp above 101. It's the MD's call when the temp gets really high.


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