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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 1999 May-Jun;21(3):212-8.

Economic and resource utilization analysis of outpatient management of fever and neutropenia in low-risk pediatric patients with cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.



To measure resource allocation in outpatient management of fever and neutropenia in low-risk pediatric patients with cancer and its impact on their families.


A prospective clinical trial was conducted. Eligible patients received a single dose of intravenous (IV) antibiotics and were observed for several hours in clinic. Patients were randomly assigned to continue either IV or oral antibiotics and were seen daily as outpatients. Charges were calculated based on the number of resources used and Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement schedules. A questionnaire was used to measure the impact of outpatient treatment on the family.


Seventy-three episodes of fever and neutropenia were studied. The median duration of treatment was 4 days. Eighty-six percent of the episodes were managed without hospitalization. The median calculated charge was $1840. The median calculated charge for patients receiving oral antibiotics was $1544 and was significantly less than the $2039 median charge for outpatients treated with IV antibiotics. The estimated charge for comparable inpatient treatment was $4503. Nearly all families preferred outpatient care, and few reported a loss of work hours or increased child care expenses.


Outpatient treatment of low-risk episodes of fever and neutropenia is substantially less costly than inpatient care and is preferred by most families.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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