Fever is a common presenting complaint (T§.ble,8.4.-2). A mnemonic for the common causes of postoperative fever is the "five Ws"; wind (atelectasis or pneumonia), water (urinary tract infection), wound, walking (deep vein thrombosis), and wonder drugs (drug fever or pseudomembranous colitis. 1 Fever during the initial 24 h is usually caused by atelectasis; however, necrotizing streptococcal and clostridial infections also occur in surgical wounds early in the postoperative course. Respiratory complications, such as pneumonia and atelectasis, and intravenous catheter-related problems, such as thrombophlebitis, are the predominant causes of fever in the 24- to 72-h time period.


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