Another lovely JAMA Rational Clinical Examination article relevant to the Emergency Department – this time regarding the utility of blood cultures. Blood cultures are frequently requested for febrile inpatients, however, the incidence of false positive ranges between 2.5% and 8%. This leads, unfortunately, to additional patient harms from additional treatment or observation.
• Cellulitis, community-acquired pneumonia, community-acquired fever: low (<14%) probability
• Pyelonephritis: mid (19-25%)
• Severe sepsis, septic shock, bacterial meningitis: high (38-69%)
"Does This Adult Patient With Suspected Bacteremia Require Blood Cultures?"