Aim: To assess the clinical outcome of patients with moderate to severe cellulitis managed at a paediatric day treatment centre (DTC).
Methods: Prospective observational study of all patients (3 months to 18 years) with a presumed diagnosis of moderate to severe cellulitis made in a university-affiliated paediatric emergency department (ED) (September 2003 to September 2005). Patients treated at the DTC were given ceftriaxone or clindamycin.
Results: During the study period, a presumed diagnosis of moderate to severe cellulitis was made in 224 patients in the ED. Ninety-two patients were treated at the DTC (41%). The cellulitis had a median width of 7.0 cm (range: 1.0-50.0 cm) and a median length of 6.5 cm (range: 1.0-40.0 cm). Blood cultures were performed in 95.7%; one was positive for Staphylococcus aureus. After a mean of 2.5 days of intravenous therapy (first injection in the ED and a mean of 1.5 days at the DTC), 73 patients (79.3%) were successfully discharged from the DTC and switched to an oral agent. For these patients no relapse occurred. Nineteen patients (20.7%) required inpatient admission for further therapy. No patient was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis in the course of therapy. Seventy-eight satisfaction questionnaires were handed in and revealed very good to excellent parental satisfaction with treatment at the DTC in 94.8%.
Conclusion: Treatment with parenteral antibiotic at a DTC is a viable alternative to hospitalisation for moderate to severe cellulitis in children.