Short-course antibiotics for chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropaenia: Retrospective cohort study

Nicola Seneviratne, Daniel Yeomanson*, Robert Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent research in febrile neutropaenia (FN) has focused on reducing the intensity of treatment for those thought to be at low risk of significant morbidity or mortality. This has not led to a reduced burden of treatment for either families or healthcare systems. An alternative approach is to discharge all patients who remain well after 48 hours of inpatient treatment, either with no ongoing treatment or with appropriate antibiotics if the cultures are positive. This paper aimed to demonstrate that this approach is safe. Methods: Patients treated according to this approach in a single centre were reviewed retrospectively, with a random selection of patients from a 4-year period. Data were collected according to the Predicting Infectious Complications of Neutropenic sepsis in Children with Cancer dataset. In addition, all septic deaths over a 10-year period were reviewed in the same manner. Results: 179 episodes of FN were reviewed from 47 patients. In 70% (125/179) of episodes, patients were discharged safely once 48-hour microbiology results were available, with only 5.6% (7/125) resulting in readmission in the 48 hours following discharge. There were no septic deaths in this cohort. There were 11 deaths due to FN over the 10-year study period. Almost all patients were identified as severely unwell in the early stages of their final presentation or had a prolonged final illness. Conclusion: This paper indicates that the policy described provides a balance between safety and acceptability. Further work is needed to demonstrate non-inferiority and cost-benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Early online date17 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2020

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  • haematology
  • infectious diseases
  • oncology

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