Current antimicrobial practice in febrile neutropenia across Europe and Asia: the EBMT Infectious Disease Working Party survey

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2020 Aug;55(8):1588-1594. doi: 10.1038/s41409-020-0811-y. Epub 2020 Feb 11.


The aim of this survey was to summarize the current antimicrobial practice in febrile neutropenia and the presence of key aspects of antimicrobial stewardship. A questionnaire was sent to 567 centers, and complete responses were obtained from 194 (34.2%). Fluoroquinolone and co-trimoxazole prophylaxis are used in 57.1% and 89.1%, respectively. In 66.4%, the first-line empirical therapy is piperacillin/tazobactam, whereas 10.9% use carbapenems. Empirical combination therapy is used in stable patients without history of resistant pathogens in 37.4%. De-escalation to monotherapy is performed within 3 days in 35.3% and after 10 days in 19.1%. Empirical addition of a glycopeptide is performed when fever persists more than 2-3 days in 60.8%. Empirical escalation to a broader spectrum agent is performed when fever persists more than 3-5 days in 71.4%. In case of positive blood cultures with a susceptible pathogen and uncomplicated presentation, 76.7% of centers de-escalate and 36.6% discontinue before neutrophil recovery. In fever of unknown origin with uncomplicated presentation, 54.1% of centers de-escalate and 49.5% discontinue before neutrophil recovery. Recommendations put forward in the ECIL guidelines are not widely implemented in clinical practice. Specific problems include overuse of carbapenems and combination therapy and unjustified addition of glycopeptides without further de-escalation or discontinuation.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Asia
  • Communicable Diseases*
  • Europe
  • Febrile Neutropenia* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents