Objectives. In the immediate postoperative period after percutaneous stone removal, body temperature elevations are common. Pyrexia after a percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) generates concern because of the possibility of urinary extravasation and bacteremia. We reviewed our experience with PCNL to determine the clinical significance of a postoperative fever before discharge from the hospital. Methods. Between July 1994 and December 1996, 63 patients underwent 69 PCNLs. Each had documented negative urine cultures preoperatively and received prophylactic antibiotics at the time of surgery. For each case, clinical and operative charts were reviewed to determine stone composition, fever during hospital stay, postoperative bacteriologic cultures, postoperative white blood cell count (WBC), and clinical course. Results. Complete data were available for 66 procedures. Eight patients (12%) had at least one body temperature reading between 38.0 and 38.5°C. Eleven patients (16.7%) had at least one temperature greater than 38.5°C. Each patient with a temperature greater than 38.5°C was hemodynamically stable with negative blood and urine cultures. No patient with a fever between 38.0 and 38.5°C was cultured. Stone analysis did not demonstrate any association between postoperative fever and stone composition (including 22 struvite stones). Postoperative WBC also did not predict pyrexia. Fever alone did not prolong hospital stay. Conclusions. In patients with negative urine cultures who are prophylaxed with immediate preoperative antibiotics and maintained on postoperative antibiotics, pyrexia after PCNL does not require an immediate bacteriologic evaluation in those who are hemodynamically stable.
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