Practice Variation in the Evaluation and Disposition of Febrile Infants ≤60 Days of Age

the Febrile Infant Working Group of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Febrile infants commonly present to emergency departments for evaluation. Objective: We describe the variation in diagnostic testing and hospitalization of febrile infants ≤60 days of age presenting to the emergency departments in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network. Methods: We enrolled a convenience sample of non-critically ill–appearing febrile infants (temperatures ≥38.0°C/100.4°F) ≤60 days of age who were being evaluated with blood cultures in 26 Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network emergency departments between 2008 and 2013. Patients were divided into younger (0–28 days of age) and older (29–60 days of age) cohorts for analysis. We evaluated diagnostic testing and hospitalization rates by infant age group using chi-square tests and by site using analysis of variance. Results: Four thousand seven hundred seventy-eight patients were eligible for analysis, of whom 1517 (32%) were 0–28 days of age. Rates of lumbar puncture and hospitalization were high (>90%) among infants ≤28 days of age, with chest radiography (35.5%) and viral testing (66.2%) less commonly obtained. Among infants 29–60 days of age, lumbar puncture (69.5%) and hospitalization (64.4%) rates were lower and declined with increasing age, with chest radiography (36.5%) use unchanged and viral testing (52.7%) slightly decreased. There was substantial variation between sites in the older cohort of infants, with lumbar puncture and hospitalization rates ranging from 40% to 90%. Conclusions: The evaluation and disposition of febrile infants ≤60 days of age is highly variable, particularly among infants who are 29–60 days of age. This variation demonstrates an opportunity to modify diagnostic and management strategies based on current epidemiology to safely decrease invasive testing and hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • fever
  • guidelines infant
  • infectious disease
  • practice variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

Cite this

the Febrile Infant Working Group of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) (2019). Practice Variation in the Evaluation and Disposition of Febrile Infants ≤60 Days of Age. Journal of Emergency Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2019.03.003