Mucositis not neutropenia determines bacteremia among hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
SourceTransplant Infectious Disease, 16, 2, (2014), pp. 279-285
Article / Letter to editor
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Transplant Infectious Disease
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 5: Inflammatory diseases RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences; Radboudumc 9: Rare cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: In the 1960s, it was reported that infectious complications were the main cause of fever during neutropenia that followed hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). More recently, mucositis has become recognized as an important determinant of the inflammatory response and infectious complications. METHODS: The objective of this prospective study was to determine the impact of intestinal mucositis, as measured by plasma citrulline, and neutropenia on the systemic inflammatory response (C-reactive protein) and the occurrence of bacteremia among 2 cohorts of HSCT recipients: 1 composed of 18 patients who had been treated with a myeloablative (MA) regimen (high-dose melphalan) and the other involving 19 patients who had received the non-myeloablative (NMA) regimen (fludarabine and cyclophosphamide). Blood cultures were obtained for surveillance from admission onwards as well as at the onset of fever. RESULTS: The MA regimen induced severe intestinal mucositis manifest by citrullinemia <10 mumol/L, which was accompanied by an inflammatory response, and bacteremia affected 8 (44%) of 18 patients and coincided with the nadir of citrullinemia. By contrast, those who had been treated with the NMA regimen did not develop severe intestinal mucositis, had a moderate inflammatory response, and only 2 (11%) of the 19 patients developed bacteremia. However, both groups experienced profound neutropenia and its duration was significantly longer for those receiving the NMA regimen. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that severe intestinal mucositis, i.e., citrullinemia <10 mumol/L, defines the period of risk of bacteremia better than does neutropenia, and that measuring plasma citrulline may prove useful in deciding who needs empirical antimicrobial therapy and when.
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