Vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection is a growing threat. We studied the incidence, risk factors, and clinical course of early-onset VRE bacteremia in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. We carried out a chart review of 281 allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients from 1997-2003, including preparative regimen, diagnosis, status of disease, graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis, antimicrobial therapy, and survival. VRE bacteremia developed in 12/281 (4.3%) recipients; 10 (3.6%) were within 21 days of transplant. Diagnoses were acute leukemia (7), NHL (2), and MDS (1). In all, 70% had refractory/relapsed disease; 30% were in remission. In total, 50% had circulating blasts. Nine of 10 had matched unrelated donors (7/9 with CD8+ T-cell depletion). The average time to positive VRE cultures was 15 days; average WBC was 0.05, and 80% had concomitant infections. Despite treatment, all patients died within 73 days of VRE bacteremia. Intra-abdominal complications were common. Causes of death included bacterial or fungal infection, multiorgan failure, VOD, ARDS, and relapse. A total of 60% of patients engrafted neutrophils, but none engrafted platelets. Early VRE bacteremia after allogeneic bone marrow transplant is associated with a rapidly deteriorating clinical course, although not always directly due to VRE. Early VRE may be a marker for the critical condition of these high-risk patients at the time of transplant.
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplant
- Vancomycin-resistant enterococcal infection
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