Children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia who had blood culture taken were more likely to have prolonged hospital stay and receive unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to data presented at the 2014 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.

Michael P. Koster, MD, FAAP, of Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI, and colleagues assessed medical records of 763 children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) between 2011 and 2012. Patients were aged 3 months to 18 years.

Patients with blood cultures (n=462) had longer lengths of stay compared with patients who did not have a blood culture taken (n=301), 3.4 days vs. 1.9 days (P<0.0001). This difference remained significant after removing ICU patients, 2.5 days vs. 1.8 days (P<0.0001).

Patients who had blood cultures taken were more likely to receive a third generation cephalosporin compared with those who did not have a blood culture taken (68.9% vs. 42.9%; P<0.0001).

“This study looked at if blood cultures offer much benefit in terms of changing management or improving care in children. We were particularly interested in this [Infectious Diseases Society of America] recommendation because it was a strong recommendation based on weak evidence. A lot of evidence that has come out since the recommendation in 2011 has suggested blood cultures don’t offer a whole lot of benefit,” Koster told Infectious Diseases in Children.