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Curr Opin Crit Care. 2001 Oct;7(5):362-6.

Severe infections after bone marrow transplantation.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, United Kingdom.


Bone marrow transplantation and stem cell transplantation have become standard therapies offering potential cures for a number of hematologic malignancies and immunologic disorders. Severe infection remains a life threatening complication after transplantation, contributes significantly to morbidity, and may necessitate admission to the ICU. It is estimated that between 20 and 40% of patients receiving bone marrow transplant will require ICU admission in the initial posttransplantation phase. Historically, survival rates after admission to the ICU are dismal, particularly if mechanical ventilation is required for respiratory failure. Other organ involvement worsens the prognosis still further and has led to proposals for rationing or restricting access to critical care units and supportive measures. Recent studies have reported small but significant improvements in outcome after critical illness. Whether this improvement is a result of changes in levels of supportive care or a more defined patient selection is uncertain. Moreover, risk factors identifying patients who will benefit most from intensive support are poorly defined. However, it is generally accepted that respiratory failure requiring invasive mechanical ventilation is associated with a poor prognosis in this patient group. Early involvement of intensivists in the management of critical illness in transplant recipients is likely to continue to improve survival in this group of patients.

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