Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Review: fair evidence supports several tests in investigating fever of unknown origin

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

 QUESTION: What are the best approaches for a diagnostic workup of fever of unknown origin (FUO)?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966–2000) using the terms fever of unknown origin, FUO, PUO, and pyrexia of unknown origin; and by reviewing the references of relevant studies.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were published in English; they examined the natural history, prognosis, or spectrum of disease associated with FUO, or evaluated a diagnostic test for FUO; the patients had a temperature >38.3°C on several occasions lasting >3 weeks; and the diagnosis remained uncertain after 1 week of investigation in hospital. Exclusion criteria were immunosuppression; age <18 years; HIV; cancer; or patient groups outside of North America, western Europe, or Scandinavia.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on the performance and yield of the diagnostic tests. Study quality was assessed according to research design and internal validity (good, fair, or poor).

Main results

Diagnostic tests, …

View Full Text


  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr O Mourad, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. MouradO{at}

  • Abstract and commentary also appear in ACP Journal Club.