Chills or rigor is a shaking occurring during a high fever. It occurs because cytokines and prostaglandins are released as part of an immune response and increase the set point for body temperature in the hypothalamus.
"Rigor" is sometimes considered a synonym for "chills".
The increased set point causes the body temperature to rise (pyrexia), but also makes the patient feel cold until the new set point is reached. Rigor occurs because the patient's body is effectively shivering in a physiological attempt to increase body temperature to the new set point.
Rigors are commonly caused by:
- Infectious Pneumonia
- Biliary sepsis (part of Charcot's triad 2)
- Opioid withdrawal
- Visceral abscess (including lung, liver and paracolic)
- A side effect of treatment with amphotericin B
- General Illnesses
See also