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Thread: Fever and SCI?

  1. #1

    Fever and SCI?

    If you remember, my BIL is a C5 incomplete (I believe), and he's almost 2 weeks post injury. He's intermittently ran a fever since the accident. They did tons of test in the first hospital he was in, but I don't think they ever really found the source. His fever was as high as 103.8 at one point. They did the chest x-ray, blood, urine and sputum cultures, and I'm sure there are others.

    The first few days he was in Craig, I don't think he ran a fever, or my sister never mentioned one. Now his temp. was 102.5 again last night. My mom did say that his white blood cell count was elevated, although I don't know how much. My sister asked me to research about SCI and fevers, but I hate researching stuff like that; you always find some scary stuff. I know a fever can mean a lot of different things; his doctor even mentioned that his temperature controller (my sister's words) might be haywire.

    Any input would be appreciated!


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    I would think the high white cell count along with the fever would point to an infection, not a malfunctioning "thermostat"?
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  3. #3
    I 100% agree, but my sister wanted me to research it. I'm talking to her right now, and she says his temp. is now normal. They're calling in some kind of infection doctor to see if they can find a source. The only reason his fever is so curious to me is that his fever is so intermittent. One time it was 101 something, the next time it would be 98 and the next time it would be 100. I should also mention that he has thrush that they are treating; I'm not sure if this could cause a fever. My sister also said they are leaning toward it being one of 3 things: an infection, a wacky "thermostat", or something about a bone growing where it's not supposed to? I know nothing about the last 2.

    Thanks again,

  4. #4
    Senior Member Broknwing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Central Florida
    Sjean is right that a high white cell count would indicate infection somewhere....BUT if the white cell count wasn't high, it is normal for someone w/sci to have trouble controlling their body temperature. Especially shortly after injury when their body is still adjusting and in shock...If it's determined he does not have an infection, I would not be overly concerned about an intermttent low grade fever, just become aware of what his "normal" fever tends to become and if it is elevated from that
    is when you should be concerned
    L-1 inc 11/24/03

    "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Thanks for adding that BroknW, with out an infection sci can make it difficult to regulate body temp.

    As far as the bone growing in the wrong place, I think he is referring to HO - Heterotrophic ossification. Some info on it here.

    edited to add

    This doesn;t have anything to do about the fever, just that he is a new injury, and you are just learning about it. One thing that is very important to know about, especially at his level is autonomic dysreflexia. (Scroll down to #8 in this post by Dr Wise or read here.) Be sure to get his doctor to explain this to you as well.
    Last edited by sjean423; 02-06-2008 at 04:42 PM.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  6. #6
    Thank you for the additional info. I'll make sure my sister asks his doctors about autonomic dysreflexia.

    The infectious disease doctor was there today, and he seems to think it may be a UTI since all of his other bloodwork seems to be okay. They also seem to think that he is having problems regulating his temp. He seems to take on the ambient temperature, i.e., very low after his bath, higher when the room is warm or he is covered up.

    Thanks again for the info.


  7. #7
    Many quads take on the ambient temp. My doctor in rehab said I'm a cold-blooded animal, "like a lizard on a rock".

  8. #8
    Banned adi chicago's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    near dracula castle
    damn we quads are like crocs.....they must keep their mouth open to control their body temp.
    ps.and i wonder why i need so many fluids daily.BEER....LOL.
    • Dum spiro, spero.
      • Translation: "As long as I breathe, I hope."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ashley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    St. Louis, Missouri
    when i was first injured i had the exact fevers you are describing and nothing could be found to cause them. my doctors said sometimes very new sci's will get "phantom" fevers and it has to do with the trauma of the injury. the body is thinking something is wrong and tries to use a fever to kill it but because the sympathetic nervous system is disconnected the message gets confused. i just had to wait it out =( it was so terrible to get through for me i hope the fevers end for him soon. did the docs do a stool sample by chance?
    Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
    -Dorothy Thompson

  10. #10
    I'm not sure if they did a stool sample or not, but I would think so. He's being seen by an infectious disease doctor at Craig, who I'm told are very good. Your experience after your SCI sounds very similar to his. At the first hospital he was at, it seemed like whenever they messed with him -- changed him, got him up, or moved him -- his temp. spiked. Hopefully his fevers will even out soon because I know he's having a rough time with it, especially after he is bathed.


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