Impact of contaminated blood cultures on children, families, and the health care system

Megan Farrell, Sarah Bram, Hongjie Gu, Shakila Mathew, Elizabeth Messer, Ericka Hayes, Mythili Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Contaminated blood cultures pose a significant burden. We sought to determine the impact of contaminated peripheral blood cultures on patients, families, and the health care system. METHODS: In this retrospective case-control study from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2017, we compared the hospital course, return visits and/or admissions, charges, and length of stay of patients with contaminated peripheral blood cultures (case patients) with those of patients with negative cultures (controls). Patients were categorized into those evaluated and discharged from the emergency department (ED) (ED patients) and those who were hospitalized (inpatients). RESULTS: A total of 104 ED case patients were matched with 208 ED control patients. A total of 343 case inpatients were matched with 686 inpatient controls. There was no significant difference between case and control patient demographics, ED, or hospital course at presentation. Fifty-five percent of discharged ED patients returned to the hospital for evaluation and/or admission versus 4% of controls. There was a significant (P , .0001) increase in repeat blood cultures (43% vs 1%), consultations obtained (21% vs 2%), cerebrospinal fluid studies (10% vs 0%), and antibiotic administration (27% vs 1%) in ED patients compared with controls. Each ED patient requiring revisit to the hospital incurred, on average, $4660 in additional charges. There was a significant (P , .04) increase in repeat blood cultures (57% vs 7%), consultations obtained (35% vs 28%), broadening of antibiotic coverage (18% vs 11%), median length of stay (75 vs 64 hours), and median laboratory charges ($3723 vs $3296) in case inpatients compared with controls. CONCLUSIONS: Contaminated blood cultures result in increased readmissions, testing and/or procedures, length of stay, and hospital charges in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-843
Number of pages8
JournalHospital Pediatrics
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

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