National Survey on the Impact of Viral Testing for the ED and Inpatient Management of Febrile Young Infants
OBJECTIVE: Well-appearing febrile infants with viral illnesses cannot be distinguished from those with occult life-threatening infections. Infants with respiratory viruses are less likely to have serious bacterial infections; however, current risk-stratification criteria predate widespread viral testing and there are limited data to safely inform physician management with this now common diagnostic tool. This study sought to explore the possible impact of respiratory virus testing on clinical decision-making for the management of febrile young infants <6 weeks old.
METHODS: A scenario-based survey was sent to emergency department (ED) and inpatient physicians at all 16 Canadian tertiary pediatric centers. Participants were asked questions regarding management decisions with and without results of respiratory virus testing.
RESULTS: Response rate was 78% (n = 330; 190 ED, 140 inpatient). Detection of a respiratory virus reduced admission rates among 3-week-old (83% vs 95%, P < .001) and 5-week-old infants (36% vs 52%, P < .001). Similarly, empirical antibiotic treatment was decreased by detection of a respiratory virus for 3-week-old (65% vs 92%, P < .001) and 5-week-old infants (25% vs 39%, P < .001). Management of 5-week-old infants differed between ED and inpatient physicians, both in the presence and absence of a respiratory virus. There was no consensus among inpatient physicians regarding admission duration for well infants with a detectable respiratory virus and otherwise negative workup.
CONCLUSIONS: Respiratory virus testing appears to influence clinical decision-making for febrile infants <6 weeks, reducing both rates of admission and antimicrobial treatment. Important work is needed to better understand how to safely incorporate viral testing for the management of this vulnerable patient population.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics