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Abstract

Background  Generally, fever is observed in >30% of hospitalized patients. However, little is known about fever in dermatology inpatients.

Objectives  The aim of this study was to investigate and document the incidence, characteristics, and etiologic factors of fever in febrile dermatology inpatients and to describe the practice of antibiotic use and prognosis in the same group.

Methods  The medical records for 928 inpatients were retrospectively analyzed.

Results  The incidence of fever was found to be 16.2%. Mean length of hospital stay was found to be longer in febrile patients. Of the 176 febrile episodes, 79 (44.9%) occurred in patients without infections, 43 (24.4%) in patients with community-acquired infections, 25 (14.2%) in patients with healthcare-associated infections, 18 (10.2%) in patients classified with fever of non-infectious/infectious causes, and 11 (6.3%) in a group for whom the etiologic factors of fever were undetermined. Antibiotic treatment was started in 36.2% of febrile inpatients. The overall mortality rate was 0.6%.

Conclusions  This is the first study to investigate febrile episodes in dermatology inpatients. Fever is a frequently encountered symptom in dermatology inpatients. Febrile episodes resulted from mostly non-infectious entities, mainly consisting of inflammatory dermatologic disorders. Antibiotics were ordered in a higher percentage of patients in the febrile group. Dermatologists started prophylactic or empiric antibiotic therapy in febrile patients with non-infectious or inflammatory diagnoses on the assumption that these patients had an increased risk for infection as a result of impaired skin integrity and use of immunosuppressive drug therapy. The overall mortality rate was very low in the study group of dermatology inpatients.