Emergency department management of chemotherapy related febrile neutropenia: An opportunity to improve care

Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Jul 9;50:5-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.07.008. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Febrile neutropenia (FN) is an important oncological emergency seen in the emergency department (ED), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends risk stratification of patients with febrile neutropenia using the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) Index, with ED discharge on oral antibiotics recommended for low-risk patients.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of FN neutropenia and medical system wide ED treatment guideline adherence.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients with an ICD-10 confirmed diagnosis of FN from January 2016-2019at 13 affiliated EDs within one medical system. Only cancer/chemotherapy related FN were included. Following the MASCC guidelines, we used post-hoc calculations to classify patients as low/high-risk, and compared key clinical variables (mortality, blood culture positivity, interventions).

RESULTS: 203 patients were found to have FN. 97.9% (184/203) received broad spectrum antibiotics, including 92% of the low-risk group (60/65). All patients were admitted, and no observed in-hospital mortality was noted in the low-risk group, meanwhile 5.1% (7/138) of the high-risk group died. 14/203 patients had positive blood cultures, none in the low-risk group.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of FN is low among 13 EDs that had almost 1.7 million ED visits over a 3-year period. Guideline compliance for low-risk FN was poor. All patients were admitted, and nearly all patients received IV fluids and IV antibiotics. Improving FN management to align with national guidelines represents an opportunity to improved ED care of patients with cancer by reducing unnecessary hospitalizations.

PMID:34265732 | DOI:10.1016/j.ajem.2021.07.008