Journal Article

Influenza Infections after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Risk Factors, Mortality, and the Effect of Antiviral Therapy

W. Garrett Nichols, Katherine A. Guthrie, Lawrence Corey and Michael Boeckh

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 39, issue 9, pages 1300-1306
Published in print November 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online November 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1086/425004
Influenza Infections after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Risk Factors, Mortality, and the Effect of Antiviral Therapy

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Background. Community-acquired respiratory viruses, such as influenza virus, are thought to be major causes of morbidity and mortality in patients who had undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Risk factors for acquisition, progression to pneumonia, and the effect of antiviral therapy are unknown.

Methods. We reviewed records from patients with documented influenza over 12 consecutive respiratory-virus infection seasons at a single transplantation center.

Results. From 1 September 1989 through 31 March 2002, influenza virus was isolated from 62 of 4797 persons undergoing HSCT (1.3%); 44 patients had upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) alone, and 18 developed pneumonia. Among patients with influenza virus infection, pneumonia developed more commonly among those infected earlier after transplantation (median, 36 vs. 61 days, P = .04) and those with concurrent lymphopenia. Of the 51 cases that were initially diagnosed as URIs, 17 were treated with antivirals, and 34 were not treated. Six untreated patients (18%) developed pneumonia, whereas 1 (13%) of 8 patients treated with rimantadine and 0 of 9 treated with oseltamivir developed pneumonia. The duration of influenza virus shedding was longer in patients treated with steroid doses of >1 mg/kg than among those treated with doses of <1 mg/kg (mean, 15 vs. 9 days); there was a trend towards decreased shedding with oseltamivir therapy (but not rimantadine therapy) after controlling for steroid use (P < .08). The 30-day mortality rate was highest among patients who had progression to pneumonia (5 [28%] of 18 patients); pulmonary copathogens (such as Aspergillus fumigatus) were commonly isolated.

Conclusions. Influenza virus infection is an important cause of mortality early after HSCT. Our nonrandomized data suggest that early antiviral therapy with neuraminidase inhibitors may prevent progression to pneumonia and decrease viral shedding, which may prevent both influenza-related death in index patients and nosocomial transmission to others.

Journal Article.  3923 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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