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BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 295, 2022 Mar 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765437


BACKGROUND: In the Emergency Department (ED), early and accurate recognition of infection is crucial to prompt antibiotic therapy but the initial presentation of patients is variable and poorly characterized. Lymphopenia is commonly associated with bacteraemia and poor outcome in intensive care unit patients. The objective of this retrospective study was to assess the prevalence of community-acquired infection in a cohort of unselected patients admitted to the ED with undifferentiated symptoms and severe lymphopenia. METHODS: This is a retrospective single-center study conducted over a 1 year-period before the COVID-19 pandemic. Consecutive adult patients admitted to the ED with severe lymphopenia (lymphocyte count < 0.5 G/L) were studied. Patients with hematological or oncological diseases, HIV infection, hepato-cellular deficiency, immunosuppression, or patients over 85 years old were excluded. Diagnoses of infection were validated by an independent adjudication committee. The association between various parameters and infection was assessed using a multivariate logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: Of 953 patients admitted to the ED with severe lymphopenia, 245 were studied (148 men; mean age: 63 ± 19 years). Infection was confirmed in 159 patients (65%) (bacterial: 60%, viral: 30%, other: 10%). Only 61 patients (25%) were referred to the ED for a suspected infection. In the univariate analysis, SIRS criteria (OR: 5.39; 95%CI: 3.04-9.70; p < 0.001) and temperature ≥ 38.3 °C (OR: 10.95; 95%CI: 5.39-22.26; p < 0.001) were strongly associate with infection. In the multivariate analysis, only SIRS criteria (OR: 2.4; 95%CI: 1.48-3.9; p < 0.01) and fever (OR: 3.35; 95%CI: 1.26-8.93; p = 0.016) were independently associated with infection. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of underlying infection is high in patients admitted to the ED with lymphopenia, irrespective of the reason for admission. Whether lymphopenia could constitute a valuable marker of underlying infection in this clinical setting remains to be confirmed prospectively in larger cohorts. TRIAL REGISTRATION: No registration required as this is a retrospective study.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Lymphopenia , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Lymphopenia/diagnosis , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Prevalence , Retrospective Studies