Infections in hematopoietic cell transplant recipients: Results from the organ transplant infection project, a multicenter, prospective, cohort study

Academic Article


  • © The Author 2017. Background. Infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Our object was to better define the epidemiology and outcomes of infections after HCT. Methods. This was a prospective, multicenter cohort study of HCT recipients and conducted from 2006 to 2011. The study included 4 US transplant centers and 444 HCT recipients. Data were prospectively collected for up to 30 months after HCT using a standardized data collection tool. Results. The median age was 53 years, and median follow up was 413 (range, 5-980) days. The most common reason for HCT was hematologic malignancy (87%). The overall crude mortality was 52%. Death was due to underlying disease in 44% cases and infection in 21%. Bacteremia occurred in 231 (52%) cases and occurred early posttransplant (median day 48). Gram-negative bloodstream infections were less frequent than Gram-positive, but it was associated with higher mortality (45% vs 13%, P = .02). Clostridium difficile infection developed in 148 patients (33%) at a median of 27 days post-HCT. There were 53 invasive fungal infections (IFIs) among 48 patients (11%). The median time to IFI was 142 days. Of 155 patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, 4% had CMV organ involvement. Varicella zoster infection (VZV) occurred in 13 (4%) cases and was disseminated in 2. Infection with respiratory viruses was seen in 49 patients. Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia was rare (1%), and there were no documented cases of nocardiosis, toxoplasmosis, endemic mycoses, or mycobacterial infection. This study lacked standardized antifungal and antiviral prophylactic strategies. Conclusions. Infection remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality after HCT. Bacteremias and C difficile infection are frequent, particularly in the early posttransplant period. The rate of IFI is approximately 10%. Organ involvement with CMV is infrequent, as are serious infections with VZV and herpes simplex virus, likely reflecting improved prevention strategies.
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    Author List

  • Schuster MG; Cleveland AA; Dubberke ER; Kauffman CA; Avery RK; Husain S; Paterson DL; Silveira FP; Chiller TM; Benedict K
  • Volume

  • 4
  • Issue

  • 2