Intravenous literature: Phillips, R., Hancock, B., Graham, J., Bromham, N., Jin, H. and Berendse, S. (2012) Prevention and management of neutropenic sepsis in patients with cancer: summary of NICE guidance. BMJ 2012;345:e5368
Neutropenic sepsis is a potentially fatal complication of treatment for cancer, with mortality rates of 2-21%. An investigation by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death and a follow-up report by the National Chemotherapy Advisory Group highlighted problems in the management of neutropenic sepsis in adults receiving chemotherapy. The problems included inadequate management of neutropenic sepsis leading to avoidable deaths, and the lack of systems for urgent assessment and of policies at organisation level for dealing with neutropenic sepsis. This article summarises the most recent recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the prevention and management of neutropenic sepsis in patients of any age with cancer.