Outcomes and disposition of oncology patients with non-neutropenic fever and positive blood cultures

Aditya Sharma, Jitsuda Sitthi-Amorn, Patrick Gavigan, Joshua Wolf, Asya Agulnik, Alex Brenner, Ying Li, Liza Marie Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children with cancer and non-neutropenic fever (NNF) episodes are often treated as outpatients if they appear well. However, a small subset have bloodstream infections (BSIs) and must return for further evaluation. These patients may be directly admitted to inpatient units, whereas others are first evaluated in outpatient settings before admission. The best practice for securing care for patients discovered to have outpatient bacteremia are unclear. To determine outcomes and compare time to antibiotics between the 2 disposition, we retrospectively reviewed all NNF initially treated as outpatients and later had positive blood cultures from 2012 to 2016. Of 845 NNF cases initially treated in outpatient settings, 48 episodes (n=43 patients) had BSIs. Of those, 77.1% (n=37) were re-evaluated as outpatients and admitted; 14.6% (n=7) were direct admissions. The median time to antibiotic did not significantly differ between outpatient re-evaluations (119 min) and direct admissions (191 min), P=0.11. One patient met sepsis criteria upon return and required intensive care unit admission for vasopressor support. No patient died within 1 week of the febrile episode. Most patients with NNF and BSIs initially discharged are stable upon return. Institutions should evaluate their patient flows to ensure that patients receive timely care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-51
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric hematology/oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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