PloS one 2018 01 0513(1) e0190649 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0190649
Febrile infants younger than 3 months old present a diagnostic dilemma to the emergency physician. We aim to describe a large population of febrile infants less than 3 months old presenting to a pediatric emergency department (ED) and to assess the performance of current heart rate guidelines in the prediction of serious infections (SI).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We performed a retrospective review of febrile infants younger than 3 months old, between March 2015 and Feb 2016, in a large tertiary pediatric ED. We documented the primary outcome of SI for each infant, as well as the clinical findings, vital signs, and Severity Index Score (SIS). We assessed the performance of the Paediatric Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (PaedCTAS), Advanced Pediatric Life Support (APLS) guidelines and Fleming normal reference values, using sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV) and area under receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC).
1057 infants were analyzed, with 326 (30.6%) infants diagnosed with SI. High temperature, tachycardia, and low SIS score were significantly associated with SI. Item analysis showed that the SIS performance was driven by the presence of mottling (p = 0.003) and high temperature (p<0.001). The APLS guideline had the highest sensitivity (66.0%, 95% CI 60.5-71.1%), NPV (73.3%, 95% CI 69.7-76.5%) and AUC (0.538), while the PaedCTAS (2 standard deviation from normal) had the highest specificity (98.5%, 95% CI 97.3-99.3%) and PPV (55.2%, 95% CI 32.7-71.0%). CONCLUSIONS
Current guidelines on infantile heart rates have a variable performance. In our study, the APLS heart rate guidelines performed with the highest sensitivity, but no individual guideline predicted for SIs satisfactorily.