J Fanning, J Brewer. Delay of hospital discharge secondary to postoperative fever--is it necessary?. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2002;102(12):660–661. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2002.102.12.660.
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Although postoperative fever is common after major gynecologic surgery, the majority of patients have no identifiable infectious or pathologic etiology. Traditional management has been to delay hospital discharge until the patient is afebrile. The authors evaluate the outcome of patients discharged with postoperative fever after major gynecologic surgery. In a retrospective review of 537 women undergoing major gynecologic surgery, 211 (39%) had postoperative fever. The authors identified all patients who were discharged despite having a temperature of 38 degrees C or higher (> or = 100.4 degrees F) in the preceding 12 hours. All outpatient and inpatient records for a period of 30 days were reviewed. Thirty-eight (18%) of 211 patients who were febrile postoperatively were discharged despite having a fever within the preceding 12 hours. One patient was lost to follow-up. Two (5%) of 37 patients had a documented infection (one urinary tract infection and one postoperative wound infection). Four (11%) were readmitted within 30 days for noninfectious causes. None of the patients discharged on oral antibiotics had an antibiotic-related complication. Eighty-four percent of patients discharged with a postoperative fever did not have a documented infectious or pathologic cause for the fever while at home.
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