BACKGROUND: The Bacterial Meningitis Score accurately classifies children with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pleocytosis at very low risk (VLR) versus not very low risk (non-VLR) for bacterial meningitis. Most children with CSF pleocytosis detected during emergency department evaluation are hospitalized despite the high accuracy of this prediction rule and the decreasing incidence of bacterial meningitis. The lack of widespread use of this rule may contribute to unnecessary risk exposure and costs.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 1049 patients who, between January 2010 and May 2013, had suspicion for meningitis and underwent both a complete blood cell count and CSF studies during their emergency department evaluation. We then examined their hospitalizations to characterize exposure to drugs, radiologic studies, and the costs associated with their care to determine the safety and value repercussions of these VLR admissions. Primary outcomes include duration of antibiotics, exposure to drugs and radiology studies, safety events, and costs incurred during these VLR admissions.
RESULTS: Twenty patients classified as VLR were admitted to the hospital. On average they received35 hours of antibiotic therapy. There was 1 adverse drug event and 1 safety event.
CONCLUSIONS: The VLR patients admitted to the hospital were exposed to risk and costs despite their low risk stratification. Systematic application of the Bacterial Meningitis Score could prevent these exposures and costs.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics