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Accuracy of PECARN rule for predicting serious bacterial infection in infants with fever without a source
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  • Published on:
    Comparisons of febrile infant prediction rules
    • Nathan Kuppermann, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics UC Davis School of Medicine
    • Other Contributors:
      • Prashant Mahajan, Professor of Pediatrics and Emergnecy Medicine
      • Octavio Ramilo, Professor of Pediatrics

    Prediction rules to identify young febrile infants with serious bacterial infections (SBI) have been developed by investigators globally. Comparisons of these rules should be conducted by independent parties to avoid conflicts of interest. Two newer prediction rules use procalcitonin (PCT) as an important variable: one rule,[1] created by the authors of the Velasco[2] paper, and the PECARN Febrile Infant Rule[3] created by the authors of this letter. There are important methodological issues which must be considered when evaluating Velasco’s validation of the PECARN study. 1) The Velasco study was a retrospective analysis of a registry at one hospital in Spain, while the PECARN study was prospectively conducted at 20 centers in the United States and analyzed by an independent data center (mitigating investigator bias). 2) The rate of SBI in the Velasco study was 20.5%, much higher than the 9.3% reported by the PECARN study[3] and other investigators.[4] This suggests a different patient population or SBI epidemiology than ours, and/or enrollment bias. 3) Although the PECARN rule (using the urinalysis, absolute neutrophil count [ANC] and PCT) was derived on febrile infants 0-60 days-old, we recommend implementation only on 29-60 day-old infants, as suggested in our article.[3] In the supplement to our article, the PECARN rule using rounded cutoffs (ANC of 4000 cells/mm3 and PCT of 0.5 ng/mL) for simplicity, safety and to decrease the risk of overfitting, performed with simi...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    The article in question is a validation of our prediction rule