Radiographic pneumonia in young febrile infants presenting to the emergency department: Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study

for the Febrile Infant Working Group of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective The lack of evidence-based criteria to guide chest radiograph (CXR) use in young febrile infants results in variation in its use with resultant suboptimal quality of care. We sought to describe the features associated with radiographic pneumonias in young febrile infants. Study design Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study in 18 emergency departments (EDs) in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network from 2016 to 2019. Febrile (≥38°C) infants aged ≤60 days who received CXRs were included. CXR reports were categorised as 'no', 'possible' or 'definite' pneumonia. We compared demographics, clinical signs and laboratory tests among infants with and without pneumonias. Results Of 2612 infants, 568 (21.7%) had CXRs performed; 19 (3.3%) had definite and 34 (6%) had possible pneumonias. Patients with definite (4/19, 21.1%) or possible (11/34, 32.4%) pneumonias more frequently presented with respiratory distress compared with those without (77/515, 15.0%) pneumonias (adjusted OR 2.17; 95% CI 1.04 to 4.51). There were no differences in temperature or HR in infants with and without radiographic pneumonias. The median serum procalcitonin (PCT) level was higher in the definite (0.7 ng/mL (IQR 0.1, 1.5)) vs no pneumonia (0.1 ng/mL (IQR 0.1, 0.3)) groups, as was the median absolute neutrophil count (ANC) (definite, 5.8 K/mcL (IQR 3.9, 6.9) vs no pneumonia, 3.1 K/mcL (IQR 1.9, 5.3)). No infants with pneumonia had bacteraemia. Viral detection was frequent (no pneumonia (309/422, 73.2%), definite pneumonia (11/16, 68.8%), possible pneumonia (25/29, 86.2%)). Respiratory syncytial virus was the predominant pathogen in the pneumonia groups and rhinovirus in infants without pneumonias. Conclusions Radiographic pneumonias were uncommon in febrile infants. Viral detection was common. Pneumonia was associated with respiratory distress, but few other factors. Although ANC and PCT levels were elevated in infants with definite pneumonias, further work is necessary to evaluate the role of blood biomarkers in infant pneumonias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalEmergency Medicine Journal
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2023

Keywords

  • emergency department
  • infections
  • pneumonia
  • respiratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine

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