5-point tool for doctors treating childhood cellulitis

Assessment score developed to decide whether to use IV or oral antibiotics

Deciding whether a child with cellulitis needs oral or intravenous antibiotics could be made simpler with a five-point assessment tool devised by Melbourne researchers.

They developed the Area, Systemic features, Swelling, Eye, Tenderness (ASSET) score based on findings from 285 children who presented to the Royal Children’s Hospital with cellulitis.

The patients, aged six months to 18 years, were divided into two groups based on the route of antibiotics at 24 hours and clinicians were surveyed about which features they used to decide whether to start IV antibiotics.

Researchers, from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and University of Melbourne  correlated clinical features and outcomes to devise a cellulitis scoring system, which also took into account clinicians' opinions from a survey when appropriate.

Using a score out of seven, with four being the cut-off for choosing IV