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Utility of blood cultures in the management of adults with community acquired pneumonia discharged from the emergency department
  1. S G Campbell1,
  2. T J Marrie2,
  3. R Anstey3,
  4. S Ackroyd-Stolarz1,
  5. G Dickinson4
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3Endpoint Research Ltd, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S G Campbell
 Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, 1796 Summer Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3A7;


Study Objective: To assess the clinical value of blood cultures (BCs) in the management of adult patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) with a diagnosis of community acquired pneumonia (CAP).

Methods: The courses of antibiotic regimens and outcomes of patients with positive BC results were examined to assess their influence on BCs.

Results: BCs were obtained from 289 outpatients. Six clinically significant organisms were identified (a yield of 2.1%). Outpatients with CAP who had blood cultures performed had a 0.69% (2 of 289) chance of having a change of treatment directed by the results of the culture.

Conclusion: BCs have little utility in the ambulatory management of CAP.

  • community acquired pneumonia
  • outpatient
  • microbiology
  • blood cultures
  • CAP, community acquired pneumonia
  • BC, blood culture
  • ED, emergency department

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  • Presented at the 9th International Conference of Emergency Medicine, Edinburgh, Scotland, 17–21 June 2002.

  • Funding: this research was supported by grant 9807PT-39621-UI-D from the Medical Research. Council of Canada and by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association of Canada Awards Program/Industry Partnership (Janssen Ortho Inc was the industry partner).

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.