De-escalation of empiric broad spectrum antibiotics in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients with febrile neutropenia

Lindsey Rearigh, Erica Stohs, Alison Freifeld, Andrea Zimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Febrile neutropenia (FN) is a common serious complication in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) requiring urgent evaluation and initiation of empiric broad spectrum antibiotics (BSA). The appropriate duration of BSA for FN in patients with negative cultures and no identifiable infection remains undefined. We retrospectively analyzed allogenic and autologous HSCT patients with FN and negative infectious work-up at our facility from 2012 to 2018. The early de-escalation group (EDG) included those who had BSA de-escalation to fluoroquinolone prophylaxis at least 24 h prior to absolute neutrophil count (ANC) recovery after the patient was fever-free for at least 48 h. Among 297 patients undergoing their first HSCT who experienced FN with negative infectious work-up, 83 patients were de-escalated early with the remaining 214 in the standard of care group (SCG) whose BSA were continued until ANC was > 500. Duration of broad-spectrum antibiotics was shorter in EDG compared to SCG (3.86 days vs. 4.62 days, p = 0.03). Rates of mortality, new infections, and clinical decompensation requiring intensive care unit transfer and/or pressor use within 30 days were all similar between the two groups (0% vs. 0.4% p = 1.00, 0% vs. 1.4% p = 0.56, 13.2% vs. 8.4% p = 0.27). This indicates that it is safe to de-escalate antibiotics prior to ANC recovery, leading to less BSA exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1917-1924
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Broad spectrum antibiotic
  • De-escalation
  • Febrile neutropenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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