Province-Wide Review of Pediatric Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Case Management
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OBJECTIVE: To identify the gaps in the care of children infected with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), we sought to quantitate care received and management timelines. Such knowledge is crucial to the design of interventions to prevent the development of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective case-series study of 78 children infected with STEC in Alberta, Canada, through the linkage of microbiology and laboratory results, telephone health advice records, hospital charts, physician billing submissions, and outpatient antimicrobial dispensing databases. Outcomes were the time intervals between initial presentation and reporting of positive culture result and symptom onset to HUS and to describe the proportions that had baseline blood work performed and received antibiotics. RESULTS: Seventy-eight children infected with STEC were identified; 13% (10/78) developed HUS. Median time from initial presentation to laboratory stool sample receipt was 33 hours (IQR 18, 42); time to positive culture was 120 hours (IQR 86, 205). Time from symptom onset to HUS diagnosis was 188 ± 37 hours. Baseline blood tests were obtained in 74% (58/78) of infected children. Antibiotics were administered to 50% (5/10) of those who developed HUS and 22% (15/78) of those who did not; P = .11. The provincial telephone advice system received 31 calls regarding 24 children infected with STEC; 23% (7/31) of callers were recommended to seek emergency department care. CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of children developed HUS following multiple interactions with the health care system. Delays in the confirmation of STEC infection occurred. There are numerous opportunities to improve the timing, monitoring, and interventions in children infected with STEC.
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