Characterization of Neutropenic Pediatric Patients sent to a referral centre
Aim: Neutropenia is a relatively common cause of patient referral to the Immunology and Pediatric Rheumatology Department of the National Children’s Hospital. The present study characterizes the cases of neutropenia referred to this department between November 1988 and June 2008.
Methods: Eighty four patients between 0 and 12 years of age, were referred from November 6th, 1988 and June 1st, 2008. We performed a comprehensive descriptive analysis of the characteristics exhibited by these patients in terms of clinical course, pattern of infection, most common causative germs, complications and treatment applied.
Results: Neutropenia resolved spontaneously in 52.2% of the patients, and they were classified as transient neutropenia, 21.7% of the cases developed cyclic neutropenia, 13% of were categorized as benign chronic neutropenia, 7.2% developed severe chronic symptomatic neutropenia, 2.9% had neutropenia associated with type 1B glycogenosis and 2.9% of the cases were not classifiable in any of the proposed categories. More than 50% of the cases were associated with an abnormal pattern of infection in terms of frequency, severity, multiplicity of systems involved, or the presence of opportunistic microorganisms. The upper respiratory tract was the most commonly affected system with infection. Prophylactic antibiotics were used in 39.1% of the cases and granulocyte colony stimulating factor was required in 11.6% at some stage of the course. The most frequently involved pathogens in infection were Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus sp and E. coli.
Conclusion: The vast majority of neutropenic patients had a benign clinical course. The same germs described in other series, caused infections in our patients. The absolute neutrophil count at diagnosis has no effect on the incidence of recurrent infection, but the type or clinical course of neutropenia does.
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