Outcomes of a clinical pathway for primary outpatient management of pediatric patients with low-risk febrile neutropenia

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019 Jul;66(7):e27679. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27679. Epub 2019 Mar 27.


Background: Fever and neutropenia is a common reason for nonelective hospitalization of pediatric oncology patients. Herein we report nearly five years of experience with a clinical pathway designed to guide outpatient management for patients who had low-risk features.

Procedures: Through a multidisciplinary collaboration, we implemented a clinical pathway at our institution using established low-risk criteria to guide outpatient management of pediatric oncology patients. Comprehensive chart review of all febrile neutropenia episodes was conducted to characterize outcomes of patients with low-risk febrile neutropenia following clinical pathway implementation.

Results: Between April 1, 2013, and October 1, 2017, there were 169 cases of febrile neutropenia managed in our Pediatric Oncology Unit. Sixty-seven (40%) of these episodes were defined as low risk and managed either entirely in the outpatient setting (41 episodes, 24%) or with a step-down strategy involving a very brief inpatient stay (26 episodes, 15%). There were no intensive care unit admissions or deaths among the low-risk patients. Of those identified as low risk, seven patients (10%) required subsequent hospitalization during the follow-up period, two for inadequate oral intake, two for persistent fevers, one for cellulitis, one for seizure unrelated to the febrile episode, and one for a positive blood culture.

Conclusions: Following implementation of a clinical pathway, the majority of patients designated as low risk were managed primarily in the outpatient setting without major morbidity or mortality, suggesting that carefully selected low-risk patients can be successfully treated with outpatient management and subsequent admission if warranted.

Keywords: fever; low risk; neutropenia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Pathways*
  • Febrile Neutropenia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fever of Unknown Origin / therapy
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Outpatients*