BACKGROUND: The ability of the decades-old Boston and Philadelphia criteria to accurately identify infants at low risk for serious bacterial infections has not been recently reevaluated. METHODS: We assembled a multicenter cohort of infants 29 to 60 days of age who had cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood cultures obtained. We report the performance of the modified Boston criteria (peripheral white blood cell count [WBC] $20 000 cells per mm3, CSF WBC $10 cells per mm3, and urinalysis with .10 WBC per high-power field or positive urine dip result) and modified Philadelphia criteria (peripheral WBC $15 000 cells per mm3, CSF WBC $8 cells per mm3, positive CSF Gram-stain result, and urinalysis with .10 WBC per high-power field or positive urine dip result) for the identification of invasive bacterial infections (IBIs). We defined IBI as bacterial meningitis (growth of pathogenic bacteria from CSF culture) or bacteremia (growth from blood culture). RESULTS: We applied the modified Boston criteria to 8344 infants and the modified Philadelphia criteria to 8131 infants. The modified Boston criteria identified 133 of the 212 infants with IBI (sensitivity 62.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 55.9% to 69.3%] and specificity 59.2% [95% CI 58.1% to 60.2%]), and the modified Philadelphia criteria identified 157 of the 219 infants with IBI (sensitivity 71.7% [95% CI 65.2% to 77.6%] and specificity 46.1% [95% CI 45.0% to 47.2%]). The modified Boston and Philadelphia criteria misclassified 17 of 53 (32.1%) and 13 of 56 (23.3%) infants with bacterial meningitis, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The modified Boston and Philadelphia criteria misclassified a substantial number of infants 29 to 60 days old with IBI, including those with bacterial meningitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health