Infectious Risk after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Complicated by Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease

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Abstract

The occurrence of infections after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) is nearly universal. However, the relationship between infections and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is complex and attribution of infectious-related mortality is highly inconsistent, making comparison of infectious complication rates across allogeneic HCT clinical studies difficult. We categorized infectious complications from diagnosis or 1 year before HCT (whichever occurred later) through 2 years after HCT according to timing, frequency, causative organism, severity, and contribution to mortality for 431 consecutive patients who underwent allogeneic HCT from 2008 to 2011. We then assessed the contribution of risk factors, such as the frequency of pre-HCT infections and post-HCT GVHD, on post-HCT infection frequency and severity. We found that each pre-HCT bacterial infection/year leads to an additional 2.15 post-HCT bacterial infection/year (P = .004). Pre-HCT viral and fungal infections were not predictors for post-HCT infections. Acute GVHD (aGVHD) significantly increased the risk of developing life-threatening (hazard ratio [HR], 1.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33 to 2.90) and fatal (HR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.10 to 7.08) infections. Furthermore, patients who develop aGVHD experienced ~60% more infections than patients who never develop aGVHD. Quantification of infection frequency and severity for patients with and without GVHD may facilitate comparison of infectious outcomes across allogeneic HCT trials.

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Miller, H. K., Braun, T. M., Stillwell, T., Harris, A. C., Choi, S., Connelly, J., … Levine, J. E. (2017). Infectious Risk after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Complicated by Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 23(3), 522–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2016.12.630

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