Implementation of risk stratified antibiotic therapy for febrile neutropenia: what are the risks?

Link to article at PubMed

Implementation of risk stratified antibiotic therapy for febrile neutropenia: what are the risks?

Intern Med J. 2013 Jul 22;

Authors: Wierema J, Konecny P, Links M

BACKGROUND: A new national guideline for the management of febrile patients with severe neutropenia uses a risk stratification score to tailor treatment.
AIMS: To evaluate the implementation of this guideline in a metropolitan teaching hospital.
METHODS: A protocol was developed for implementation of the national guidelines for patients with febrile neutropenia (FN) or at risk because of recent chemotherapy. Medical records of all patients presenting with fever to the Haematology and Oncology service for 3 months in 2011 were audited. Patients with a neutrophil count between 0.5 and 1.0 x 10(9) /L were classified as borderline neutropenia.
RESULTS: 81 episodes of fever were treated on the protocol. 43% of patients were neutropenic. Uptake of the policy was low (35%) despite concerted efforts. The sensitivity and specificity of the MASCC score was 86 and 24% respectively. The readmission rate with fever was 19.2%. Median time to antibiotics was 60 minutes. Outcomes were similar for the FN and borderline groups. Increasing treatment complexity was the major barrier to implementation.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of presentations with cancer and fever following chemotherapy do not have neutropenia but have similar outcomes when treated on the same pathway. The utility of the MASCC score was limited by uptake and specificity. Reducing time to antibiotics administration and readmission rates were identified as priorities. Implementation was labour intensive and faced significant barriers. Prioritisation of evidence for translation requires attention to local priorities and implementation complexity. These results argue for a single sepsis guideline with treatment of cancer as a high risk group.

PMID: 23869563 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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