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Antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative Bacteremia in Pediatric Oncology Patients—Risk Factors and Outcomes

Haeusler, Gabrielle M. MB BS*†; Mechinaud, Francoise MD; Daley, Andrew J. MB BS‡**; Starr, Mike MB BS*; Shann, Frank MD§**; Connell, Thomas G. PhD; Bryant, Penelope A. PhD*; Donath, Susan MA¶‖**; Curtis, Nigel PhD*¶ **

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: July 2013 - Volume 32 - Issue 7 - p 723–726
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31828aebc8
Original Studies

Background: Infection with antibiotic-resistant (AR) Gram-negative (GN) bacteria is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to determine risk factors and outcomes associated with GN bacteremia with acquired resistance to antibiotics used in the empiric treatment of febrile neutropenia in pediatric oncology patients at our institution.

Methods: All episodes of GN bacteremia in oncology patients at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, from 2003 to 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. Information regarding age, diagnosis, phase of treatment, inpatient status, previous AR GN infection, treatment with inotropes or ventilatory support, admission to intensive care unit, and hospital and intensive care unit length of stay were obtained from electronic records.

Results: A total of 280 episodes of GN bacteremia in 210 patients were identified. Of these, 42 episodes in 35 patients were caused by an AR GN organism. Factors independently associated with AR GN bacteremia were high-intensity chemotherapy (odds ratio 3.7, 95% confidence interval: 1.2–11.4), hospital-acquired bacteremia (odds ratio 4.3, 95% confidence interval: 2.0–9.6) and isolation of AR GN bacteria from any site within the preceding 12 months (odds ratio 9.9, 95% confidence interval: 3.8–25.5). Episodes of AR GN bacteremia were associated with longer median hospital length of stay (23.5 days versus 14.0 days; P = 0.0007), longer median intensive care unit length of stay (3.8 days versus 1.6 days; P = 0.02) and a higher rate of invasive ventilation (15% versus 5.2%; P = 0.03). No significant difference in infection-related or all-cause mortality between the 2 groups was identified.

Conclusions: In pediatric oncology patients, AR GN bacteremia is associated with an increased rate of adverse outcomes and is more likely in patients who have received high-intensity chemotherapy, have been in hospital beyond 48 hours and who have had previous AR GN infection or colonization.

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From the *Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of General Medicine; Children’s Cancer Centre; Department of Microbiology, §Intensive Care Unit; Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit; and **Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

Accepted for publication January 30, 2013.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Address for correspondence: Gabrielle M. Haeusler, MB BS, Children’s Cancer Centre, the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia. E-mail:

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© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.