Review decision date: February 2014

Review decision: 

Following consultation with stakeholders this guideline has now been placed on the static list.

Next review date: TBC

This guideline offers evidence-based advice on the prevention, identification and management of neutropenic sepsis in patients having anticancer treatment.

Neutropenic sepsis is caused by a condition known as neutropenia, in which the number of white blood cells (called neutrophils) in the blood is low. Neutrophils help the body to fight infection. People having anticancer treatment, particularly chemotherapy and more rarely radiotherapy, can be at risk of neutropenic sepsis. This is because these treatments can temporarily lower the number of neutrophils in the blood. Some anticancer treatments are more likely than others to cause a temporary period of neutropenia.

This guideline was previously called neutropenic sepsis: prevention and management of neutropenic sepsis in cancer patients.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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