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J Clin Oncol. 1994 Jan;12(1):107-14.

Home antibiotic therapy for low-risk cancer patients with fever and neutropenia: a pilot study of 30 patients based on a validated prediction rule.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.



To assess the feasibility of early discharge to home therapy with standard intravenous antibiotics in 30 patients with fever and neutropenia at low risk by a validated clinical decision rule.


Newly admitted outpatients with fever and neutropenia were evaluated for home therapy during 2 days of inpatient observation. To evaluate enrolled patients' acceptance of home care, we assessed patient attitudes and quality of life before and after home therapy. To assess economic effects, we compared the medical charges of patients treated at home with those of medically eligible patients who remained in the hospital.


Of the first 84 patients, 50 (60%) were medically ineligible, and neutropenia was resolved in another eight (10%) during the observation period. Only nine patients of the remaining 26 who were medically eligible (35%) were enrolled in the home-therapy trial. Thereafter, 21 of 31 medically eligible patients (68%) were enrolled. The 30 patients treated at home were neutropenic for a median of 6 days (mean, 8.2). Four had medical complications, and five others were readmitted for observation. Patients' quality of life improved during home therapy, and favorable attitudes toward home care persisted after treatment. Medically eligible patients not enrolled had briefer neutropenia than patients treated at home, but had 44% higher daily medical charges and equivalent overall charges despite treatment half as long.


We conclude that early discharge of low-risk patients to home intravenous antibiotic therapy is feasible, is well received by patients, and may prove to be cost-saving. However, these conclusions must be validated in a large randomized trial.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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