Fevers raise the concern for serious bacterial infections in pediatric oncology patients
receiving chemotherapy. The gold standard for diagnosing bacteremia (bacterial infection of
the blood) is a blood culture. However, bacterial growth may not occur for 48 hours or there
can be a false negative result.
Thus, the biomarker, procalcitonin, has been investigated for its predictive ability to
identify bacteremia earlier than blood culture. We believe that procalcitonin can assist in
differentiating bacteremia from non-bacteremia infections in febrile pediatric oncology
patients. A reliable predictor of bacteremia infections in pediatric oncology patients
should decrease hospitalizations for fever and unnecessary antibiotic treatment.
In our study we will measure procalcitonin levels in pediatric oncology patients presenting
with fever. We will measure procalcitonin at the time of admission which is part of our
standard of care for febrile pediatric oncology admissions. For the purpose of our study, we
will additionally measure procalcitonin levels at 12 hours and at 24 hours post admission.
We will examine procalcitonin levels at these three timepoints to determine if elevated
procalcitonin levels predict bacteremia in pediatric oncology patients with and without
- Children between the ages of birth to seventeen years.
- Present to Charleston Area Medical Center Women and Children's Hospital
- Existing pediatric oncology diagnosis.
- Temperature greater than 38.0 C or 100.5 Fahrenheit.
- Central venous access or functional port available.
- Any non-pediatric (eighteen years and above) oncology patient or a non-oncology
- The patient does not have central venous access or a port from which the blood can be