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John R. Stephens, MD
John R. Stephens, MD

Researchers in recent studies have suggested that hospitalized febrile infants aged ≤60 days may be safely discharged if bacterial cultures are negative after 24–36 hours of incubation.

John R. Stephens, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics in the division of hospital medicine, is first author of a paper published online in Hospital Pediatrics, ahead of print, that described trends and variation in length of stay (LOS) for hospitalized febrile infants across children’s hospitals.

The study team conducted a multicenter retrospective cohort study of febrile infants aged ≤60 days, hospitalized from 2016 to 2019 at 39 hospitals in the Pediatric Health Information System database. The team excluded infants with complex chronic conditions, bacterial infections, lower respiratory tract viral infections, and those who required ICU admission. The primary outcomes were trends in LOS overall and for individual hospitals, adjusted for patient demographics and clinical characteristics. They also evaluated the hospital-level association between LOS and 30-day readmissions.

The team concluded that LOS for hospitalized febrile infants decreased marginally between 2016 and 2019, although overall LOS and change in LOS varied substantially across children’s hospitals. They recognized that continued quality improvement efforts are needed to reduce LOS for hospitalized febrile infants.

The article is scheduled for print in September.