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Permissive versus restrictive temperature thresholds in critically ill children with fever and infection: a multicentre randomized clinical pilot trial

Peters, MJ; Woolfall, K; Khan, I; Deja, E; Mouncey, PR; Wulff, J; Mason, A; ... FEVER Investigators on behalf of the Paediatric Intensive Care S, .; + view all (2019) Permissive versus restrictive temperature thresholds in critically ill children with fever and infection: a multicentre randomized clinical pilot trial. Critical Care , 23 (1) , Article 69. 10.1186/s13054-019-2354-4. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Fever improves pathogen control at a significant metabolic cost. No randomized clinical trials (RCT) have compared fever treatment thresholds in critically ill children. We performed a pilot RCT to determine whether a definitive trial of a permissive approach to fever in comparison to current restrictive practice is feasible in critically ill children with suspected infection. METHODS: An open, parallel-group pilot RCT with embedded mixed methods perspectives study in four UK paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and associated retrieval services. Participants were emergency PICU admissions aged > 28 days to < 16 years receiving respiratory support and supplemental oxygen. Subjects were randomly assigned to permissive (antipyretic interventions only at ≥ 39.5 °C) or restrictive groups (antipyretic interventions at ≥ 37.5 °C) whilst on respiratory support. Parents were invited to complete a questionnaire or take part in an interview. Focus groups were conducted with staff at each unit. Outcomes were measures of feasibility: recruitment rate, protocol adherence and acceptability, between group separation of temperature and safety. RESULTS: One hundred thirty-eight children met eligibility criteria of whom 100 (72%) were randomized (11.1 patients per month per site) without prior consent (RWPC). Consent to continue in the trial was obtained in 87 cases (87%). The mean maximum temperature (95% confidence interval) over the first 48 h was 38.4 °C (38.2-38.6) in the restrictive group and 38.8 °C (38.6-39.1) in the permissive group, a mean difference of 0.5 °C (0.2-0.8). Protocol deviations were observed in 6.8% (99/1438) of 6-h time periods and largely related to patient comfort in the recovery phase. Length of stay, duration of organ support and mortality were similar between groups. No pre-specified serious adverse events occurred. Staff (n = 48) and parents (n = 60) were supportive of the trial, including RWPC. Suggestions were made to only include invasively ventilated children for the duration of intubation. CONCLUSION: Uncertainty around the optimal fever threshold for antipyretic intervention is relevant to many emergency PICU admissions. A more permissive approach was associated with a modest increase in mean maximum temperature. A definitive trial should focus on the most seriously ill cases in whom antipyretics are rarely used for their analgesic effects alone. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN16022198 . Registered on 14 August 2017.

Type: Article
Title: Permissive versus restrictive temperature thresholds in critically ill children with fever and infection: a multicentre randomized clinical pilot trial
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13054-019-2354-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13054-019-2354-4
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creative commons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http:// creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Antipyretics, Clinical trial, Fever, Infection, Paediatric intensive care, Paracetamol, Sepsis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069895
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