Patient Care

PHM16: The New AAP Clinical Practice Guideline on Evaluating, Managing Febrile Infants


One of PHM16’s most highly-attended sessions was an update on the anticipated AAP guidelines for febrile infants between ages 7-90 days given by Dr. Kenneth Roberts. The goal is to give evidence-based guidelines, not rules, from the most recent literature available. It also stresses the need to separate individual components of serious bacterial infections (UTI, bacteremia, and meningitis) as the incidence and clinical course can vary greatly in this population.

The inclusion criteria for infants for this upcoming algorithm require an infant to be full-term (37-43 weeks gestation), aged 7-90 days, well-appearing, and presenting with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius.

Exclusion criteria include perinatal/prenatal/neonatal: maternal fever, infection, or antimicrobial treatment, the presence of any evident infection, being technology-dependent, and the presence of congenital anomalies.

The updated guideline will aim to stratify management by age 7-28 days, 29-60 days, and 61 to 90 days to provide the most appropriate and directed treatment.

It will also include a role for inflammatory markers, and allow for a “kinder, gentler” approach to the management of febrile infants aged 7-90 days including withholding certain treatments and procedures if infants are at low risk of infection. An active, not passive, need for observation may be appropriate for certain infants as well. These guidelines should be tailored for individual patients to provide the best care possible while minimizing risk in this population.

Key Takeaway:

An updated AAP Practice guideline algorithm for the management of well-appearing febrile infants 7-28 days, 29-60 days, and 60-90 days will be coming in the near future that will help standardize care in this population, but should not be used as a substitute for clinical judgment.

Chandani DeZure, MD, FAAP, is a pediatric hospitalist at Children’s National Health System, Instruction of Pediatrics at George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.

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