Neutropenia: State of the Knowledge Part I

Anita Nirenberg

Annette Parry Bush

Arlene Davis

Christopher R. Friese

Theresa W. Gillespie

Robert David Rice

ONF 2006, 33(6), 1193-1201. DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.1193-1201

Purpose/Objectives: To review neutrophil physiology, consequences of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN), CIN risk assessment models, national practice guidelines, the impact of febrile neutropenia and infection, and what is known and unknown about CIN.

Data Sources: Extensive review and summary of published neutropenia literature, guidelines, meta-analyses, currently funded National Institutes of Health and Oncology Nursing Society studies, and invited expert panel symposium presentations.

Data Synthesis: A comprehensive review of current literature regarding CIN risk assessment, practice guidelines, management, impact on dose-dense and dose-intense cancer treatment, complications, costs related to hospitalizations, and treatment strategies has been compiled.

Conclusions: CIN is the most common dose-limiting toxicity of cancer therapy. Medical practice guidelines and risk assessment models for appropriate use of myeloid growth factors and management of febrile neutropenia have been developed to assess patients for CIN complications prechemotherapy and during CIN episodes. CIN affects patients, families, practitioners, and the healthcare system. Although much is known about this common chemotherapy complication, a great deal remains to be learned.

Implications for Nursing: CIN is a serious and global problem in patients receiving cancer therapy. Oncology nurses need to critically analyze their own practices when assessing, managing, and educating patients and families about CIN.

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