Blood cultures are part of the standard work-up of patients with febrile neutropenia, but it is not clear how often they affect treatment management. In this large cohort of 126 patients with febrile neutropenia who had 2520 blood cultures, 9% were positive (14% in patients without prior antibiotics and 7% in patients receiving antibiotics). Of these, 78% were gram-positive, 21% were gram-negative, and <1% were fungal. The antibiotics were modified after the results half the time, indicating that blood cultures do affect management in a small, but significant, number of patients with febrile neutropenia (abstract).
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.