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Case Report Open Access
Background: Infections are major cause of morbidity and mortality in children receiving cancer chemotherapy particularly when they are neutropenic, mainly due to immune deficiency. Between 48-60% neutropenic patients with fever have an underlying infection which can often be life threatening. Before putting the child on empiric antimicrobial regimes for FN, it is essential to know the spectrum of locally prevalent pathogens and their susceptibility patterns. Often these children don’t manifest fever even in presence of infection and fever may be present in neutropenic patients receiving chemotherapy even in the absence of infection. Present diagnostic tools available for diagnoses in FN are often not so robust and do not differentiate between various classes of organisms causing these infections. Procedure: Blood culture is time consuming and negative blood culture does not exclude bacteremia, which leads to the empirical use of broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment in pediatric patients with neutropenia, even where signs of infection are absent. We propose to evaluate the role of PCT, as a sensitive marker to evaluate pediatric oncology patients presenting with FN. Results: Blood-culture was positive in 18.05% of the patients, with majority of patients having gram-negative bacterial infections. On comparison with the focus of infection, high PCT and CRP values were obtained in patients with pulmonary infection than in extra-pulmonary infections. In our study the sensitivity of PCT was high upto 73.3% at a cut-off of ≥0.25 ng/ml for ruling out bacteremia, when compared to blood culture and CRP in our patients. Conclusion: The PCT value is certainly helpful in guiding the physicians in clinical decisions and thus the better approach towards the management of pediatrics oncology patients with FN.