American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition

American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition

October 12, 2014
2 min read

Obtaining blood culture for CAP linked to prolonged hospital stay, unnecessary antibiotic treatment

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

SAN DIEGO — Children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia who had blood culture taken were more likely to have prolonged hospital stay and receive unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to data presented at the 2014 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.

Michael P. Koster, MD, FAAP, of Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I., and colleagues assessed medical records of 763 children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) between 2011 and 2012. Patients were aged 3 months to 18 years.

Michael Koster, MD, FAAP

Michael P. Koster

“This study looked at if blood cultures offer much benefit in terms of changing management or improving care in children. We were particularly interested in this [Infectious Diseases Society of America] recommendation because it was a strong recommendation based on weak evidence. A lot of evidence that has come out since the recommendation in 2011 has suggested blood cultures don’t offer a whole lot of benefit,” Koster told Infectious Diseases in Children.

Patients with blood cultures (n=462) had longer lengths of stay compared with patients who did not have a blood culture taken (n=301), 3.4 days vs. 1.9 days (P<0.0001). This difference remained significant after removing ICU patients, 2.5 days vs. 1.8 days (P<0.0001).

In subsequent analysis, using a propensity-score matching system, there remained a median difference of 0.8 days in time to discharge between children who had a blood culture taken and those who did not have a blood culture taken (P<0.0001).

Patients who had blood cultures taken were more likely to receive a third generation cephalosporin compared with those who did not have a blood culture taken (68.9% vs. 42.9%; P<0.0001).

Researchers found no differences between patients with blood cultures and those without regarding receipt of antibiotics prior to presentation (41.6% vs. 40.9%), presence of pulmonary effusion (57.6% vs. 61.1%), or 14-day readmission rates (4.1% vs. 3%). There were no readmissions for bacteremia or sepsis among either group of children.

“We think that the recommendation to obtain blood cultures for all patients admitted with moderate to severe CAP needs to be revisited and graded in some way so that very sick patients or patients with effusions or empyema should get blood cultures, but your regular, healthy child coming in with pneumonia doesn’t need a blood culture. We think blood cultures will increase the length of stay and increase use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are unnecessary,” Koster said. — by Amanda Oldt

For more information:

Koster MP. #27291. Presented at: 2014 AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 11-14; San Diego.

Disclosure: Koster reported no relevant financial disclosures.