Clinical question: Does emergency department management of patients with febrile neutropenia (FN) follow current guidelines?
Background: Chemotherapy-related FN is an oncologic emergency frequently leading to hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. Familiarity with FN guidelines allows risk stratification for inpatient versus outpatient therapy.
Study design: Single-center, retrospective, cohort study.
Setting: Large, urban, tertiary-care academic hospital.
Synopsis: Of 173 patient visits, 25% were risk stratified as eligible for outpatient treatment and 75% as inpatient care. All patient care was assessed for guideline concordance at the time of ED disposition and therapy.
Primary outcome analysis demonstrated management was guideline discordant in 98% of low-risk patients versus 7% of high-risk patients. Secondary 30-day clinical outcomes showed high-risk patients were more likely to have positive blood cultures (54%), sepsis-induced hypotension (9.3%), and death (5.4%). Seventeen percent of all patients who received IV antibiotics were prescribed vancomycin without guideline support.
Bottom line: Low-risk FN patients in the ED received more aggressive treatment than recommended. Further research is needed to strategize means of better aligning FN management with standards of care.
Citation: Baugh CW, Wang TJ, Caterino JM, et al. ED management of patients with febrile neutropenia: guideline concordant or overly aggressive [published online ahead of print Sept. 9, 2016]?
Dr. Zuleta is an assistant professor and associate program director of the Jackson Memorial/University of Miami Internal Medicine residency training program and the site director of the program at University of Miami Hospital.