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Infection. 2002 Jan;30(1):17-21.

Short courses of intravenous empirical antibiotic treatment in selected febrile neutropenic children with cancer.

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Dept of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Children's Hospital III, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.



Since the optimal duration of antibiotic therapy in febrile neutropenic patients is not clear, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of short courses of intravenous antibiotic treatment in selected pediatric cancer patients admitted for fever and neutropenia.


We retrospectively analyzed the clinical course of children with chemotherapy-induced neutropenia and fever. All patients were treated with empirical intravenous antibiotics. In episodes of fever of unknown origin (FUO), treatment regimen allowed discontinuation of antibiotics and early hospital discharge regardless of absolute neutrophil count (ANC) or evidence of bone marrow recovery as long as patients were afebrile for at least 24 h and had been treated for a minimum of 72 h.


106 episodes of febrile neutropenia occurred in 56 patients. 84 episodes were classified as FUO and intravenous antibiotic therapy was discontinued regardless of ANC when patients met the criteria described above. No death or major complication occurred. None of the patients had to be rehospitalized for recurrent fever or infection.


Discontinuation of intravenous antibiotics regardless of ANC or evidence of bone marrow recovery seems safe and effective in pediatric cancer patients with FUO when children are afebrile for at least 24 h and are treated for a minimum of 72 h.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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