Fever and Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome after Wide Resection of Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

Kathryn E. Gallaway, Louise A. Atadja, Alexandra K. Callan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While postoperative fever is common and thought to be physiological, data is limited in pediatric patients with bone sarcomas. Understanding the predictive value of postoperative fever and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) in this population is essential to guide further workup and avoid delays in adjuvant therapy. The aim of this study is to characterize the prevalence of postoperative fever and SIRS in pediatric patients undergoing wide resection of bone sarcomas and to determine whether these signs are associated with wound or infectious complications. Methods: A retrospective chart review of cases performed by a single surgeon between January 2018 and December 2020 was performed. Results: Twenty-two patients were identified. All patients had pathology-confirmed diagnoses of osteosarcoma (77.3%) or Ewing sarcoma (22.7%). Before discharge, 68.2% developed a fever >38°C and 90.9% met SIRS criteria. The rate of wound and infectious complications during the first 6 weeks after surgery was 27.3%. The positive predictive values (PPV) of fever and SIRS were low at 26.7% and 31.0% respectively. No association between complications and fever [dds ratio (OR): 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.12-6.72] or SIRS (OR: 2.24, 95% CI: 0.78-46.14) was identified. High fever >39°C had a better PPV of 50.0%. However, the association between high fever and complications did not reach significance (OR: 6.00, 95% CI: 0.78-46.14). Age, tumor size, days from chemo to surgery, duration of surgery, estimated blood loss, number of packed red blood cells units transfused, and length of stay were not associated with the development of postoperative fever or complications. Conclusion: Pediatric patients undergoing wide resection of bone sarcomas frequently mount a robust SIRS response after surgery. However, fever and SIRS are both poor predictors of infection and wound complications. Patients with postoperative fever or SIRS should not undergo an extensive infectious workup unless there are clear signs or symptoms to suggest an infectious etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E783-E787
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • pediatrics
  • postoperative fever
  • sarcoma
  • SIRS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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