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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2007 May;13(5):615-21. Epub 2007 Mar 23.

Colonization, bloodstream infection, and mortality caused by vancomycin-resistant enterococcus early after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

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Adult Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


Bloodstream infection caused by vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) is associated with very high mortality among allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (alloHSCT) recipients. However, it remains unclear whether VRE bloodstream infection directly causes mortality in the early posttransplant period or is simply a marker of poor outcome. To determine the risk factors for VRE bloodstream infection and its effect on outcome, we followed 92 patients screened for stool colonization by VRE upon admission for alloHSCT. Patient records were reviewed to determine outcomes, including mortality and microbiologic failure. Colonization by VRE was extremely common, occurring in 40.2% of patients. VRE bloodstream infection developed in 34.2% of colonized patients by day +35, compared to 1.8% without VRE colonization (P < .01). VRE bloodstream infection was associated with a significant decrement in survival and frequent microbiologic failure, despite treatment with linezolid and/or daptomycin. Five (35.7%) of 14 patients with VRE bloodstream infection had attributable mortality or contributing mortality from the infection. Strain typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis identified 9 different VRE strains among the 37 colonized patients and 5 patients with different strains recovered from the stool and the blood. In conclusion, stool screening effectively identified patients at extremely high risk for VRE bloodstream infection. The high mortality of VRE in the early posttransplant period supports the use of empiric antibiotics with activity against VRE during periods of fever and neutropenia in colonized patients.

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