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Bloodstream Infections in Patients With Intestinal Failure Presenting to a Pediatric Emergency Department With Fever and a Central Line

Szydlowski, Ellen G. MD*; Rudolph, Jeffrey A. MD; Vitale, Melissa A. MD; Zuckerbraun, Noel S. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000000812
Original Articles

Objective Previous small studies have found a high occurrence of bloodstream infections (BSIs) in patients with intestinal failure, and these rates are higher than reported rates in other pediatric populations with central lines. The primary study objective was to describe the occurrence of BSIs in patients with intestinal failure who present to the pediatric emergency department (ED) with fever.

Methods This 5-year retrospective chart review included febrile patients with intestinal failure and central lines who presented to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh ED between 2006 and 2011. Each febrile episode was analyzed at the visit level.

Results During the study, 72 patients with 519 febrile episodes were identified. Central blood cultures were obtained in 93% (480/519) of episodes and 69% (330/480) were positive. Of all BSIs, 38% (124/330) were polymicrobial, 32% (105/330) were a single gram-positive organism, 25% (84/330) were a single gram-negative organism, and 5% (17/330) were a single fungal organism. Of the bacterial pathogens, 48% (223/460) were gram-negative. Overall, 60% were enteric organisms.

Conclusions Pediatric patients with intestinal failure and central lines have a high occurrence of BSIs with 69% of cultures positive in this study of ED febrile episodes. In contrast to reports in other populations with central lines, BSI occurrence in patients with intestinal failure and fever is higher and larger proportions are gram-negative and enteric organisms. For these patients, we recommend central and peripheral blood cultures, empiric broad spectrum antibiotics targeting gram-negative and enteric organisms, and hospital admission.

From the *Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and Divisions of †Pediatric Gastroenterology and ‡Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Disclosure : The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Ellen Szydlowski, MD, 3501 Civic Center Blvd, Division of Emergency Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (e-mail:

Supported by the National Institutes of Health through Grant Number UL1TR000005.

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