Infect Drug Resist. 2021 Mar 30;14:1283-1293. doi: 10.2147/IDR.S238567. eCollection 2021.
Febrile neutropenia (FN) is a frequent complication of cancer treatment in children. Owing to the potential for overwhelming bacterial sepsis, the recognition and management of FN requires rapid implementation of evidenced-based management protocols. Treatment paradigms have progressed from hospitalisation with broad spectrum antibiotics for all patients, through to risk adapted approaches to management. Such risk adapted approaches aim to provide safe care through incorporating antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) principles such as implementation of comprehensive clinical pathways incorporating de-escalation strategies with the imperative to reduce hospital stay and antibiotic exposure where possible in order to improve patient experience, reduce costs and diminish the risk of nosocomial infection. This review summarises the principles of risk stratification in FN, the current key considerations for optimising empiric antimicrobial selection including knowledge of antimicrobial resistance patterns and emerging technologies for rapid diagnosis of specific infections and summarises existing evidence on time to treatment, investigations required and duration of treatment. To aid treating physicians we suggest the key features based on current evidence that should be part of any FN management guideline and highlight areas for future research. The focus is on treatment of bacterial infections although fungal and viral infections are also important in this patient group.