Increased body temperature following subarachnoid haemorrhage : a retrospective correlational study

Clarke, Samantha A. (2009) Increased body temperature following subarachnoid haemorrhage : a retrospective correlational study. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Introduction: Nursing clinicians are primarily responsible for the monitoring and treatment of increased body temperature. The body temperature of patients during their acute care hospital stay is measured at regular repeated intervals. In the event a patient is assessed with an elevated temperature, a multitude of decisions are required. The action of instigating temperature reducing strategies is based upon the assumption that elevated temperature is harmful and that the strategy employed will have some beneficial effect. Background and Significance: The potential harmful effects of increased body temperature (fever, hyperthermia) following neurological insult are well recognised. Although few studies have investigated this phenomenon in the diagnostic population of non-traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage, it has been demonstrated that increased body temperature occurs in 41 to 72% of patients with poor clinical outcome. However, in the Australian context the frequency, or other characteristics of increased body temperature, as well as the association between increased body temperature with poor clinical outcome has not been established. Design: This study used a correlational study design to: describe the frequency, duration and timing of increased body temperature; determine the association between increased body temperature and clinical outcome; and describe the clinical interventions used to manage increased body temperature in patients with non-traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage. A retrospective clinical chart audit was conducted on 43 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Findings: The major findings of this study were: increased body temperature occurred frequently; persisted for a long time; and onset did not occur until 20 hours after primary insult; increased body temperature was associated with death or dependent outcome; and no intervention was recorded in many instances.
Conclusion: This study has quantified in a non-traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage patient population the characteristics of increased body temperature, established an association between increased body temperature with death or dependent outcome and described the current management of elevated temperatures in the Australian context to improve nursing practice, education and research.

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ID Code: 26542
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Coyer, Fiona, Osborne, Sonya, & Webster, Joan
Keywords: subarachnoid haemorrhage, increased body temperature, fever, hyperthermia
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Jul 2009 01:41
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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