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Gastroenterology. 1994 Nov;107(5):1398-407.

Etiology and outcome of diarrhea after marrow transplantation: a prospective study.

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1
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Acute diarrhea after marrow transplant is usually ascribed to acute graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD) or infection, with a reported 40%-50% incidence of infection. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of acute diarrhea after transplantation, its causes, and its outcome.

METHODS:

Two hundred ninety-six patients were followed up; patients with diarrhea were studied using standard evaluation of stool plus immunoelectron microscopy; assays for astrovirus, picobirnavirus, and Norwalk virus; and gene-probe methods for toxin-producing Escherichia coli. In 38 patients with diarrhea, intestinal biopsy specimens and duodenal fluid were also analyzed.

RESULTS:

One hundred fifty acute diarrheal episodes developed in 126 patients (an incidence of 43%). Intestinal infection was found in 20 of 150 episodes: viruses (astrovirus, adenovirus, cytomegalovirus, and rotavirus) in 12 patients, nosocomially acquired bacteria (Clostridium difficile and Aeromonas) in 7 patients, and mixed infection in 1 patient. Acute GVHD was responsible for 72 of 150 episodes (48%). Clinical signs and symptoms of infection and GVHD were similar. In 58 of 150 episodes (39%), no clear etiology could be found for self-limited diarrhea.

CONCLUSIONS:

Intestinal infection accounted for 13% and acute GVHD for 48% of diarrheal episodes. The most common infecting organisms were astrovirus, C. difficile, and adenovirus. Most cases of diarrhea after marrow transplant are not caused by infection.

PMID:
7926504
DOI:
10.1016/0016-5085(94)90542-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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