To devise a systematic diagnostic strategy displayed in algorithm format to assist advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in determining when postoperative fever is simply a normal inflammatory response and when further investigation is needed to rule out infection or other serious noninfectious causes of fever.
Selected research and clinical articles.
Postoperative fever is often a normal inflammatory response to surgery
, but it can also be a manifestation of a serious underlying infectious or noninfectious etiology. Therefore, it is important to approach each instance of postoperative fever in a systematic manner.
Implications for practice:
The role of the APRN in managing surgical patients requires being able to accurately assess and evaluate the cause of postoperative fever and take action accordingly. That means taking into account a variety of factors (e.g., patient's medical history, physical examination findings, and type of surgery
), so that appropriate diagnostic tests can be ordered to evaluate the cause of the postoperative fever. By being aware of the causes of postoperative fever, the APRN can also take prophylactic action to decrease the risk associated with many of these potential febrile causes.