Study objective: To determine the prevalence of bacteremia in pediatric patients with radiographic evidence of pneumonia in whom blood cultures were obtained.
Methods: We carried out a retrospective review of the radiology log of a tertiary care children's hospital to identify patients with radiographic evidence of pneumonia seen between August 1991 and July 1992. These patients were cross-referenced with the hospital laboratory information system, yielding results of any CBC or blood cultures.
Results: We found 939 patients with chest radiography findings consistent with pneumonia. Blood culturing was performed in 409 (44%). Eleven of these cultures (2.7%) grew pathogenic bacteria. Review of the medical records revealed no changes in clinical management made on the basis of the results of the blood cultures.
Conclusion: Blood cultures are uncommonly positive in outpatients diagnosed with pneumonia.