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Harrys A. Torres; Elizabeth A. Aguilera; Gloria N. Mattiuzzi; Maria E. Cabanillas; Nidhi Rohatgi; Carmen A. Sepulveda; Hagop M. Kantarjian; Ying Jiang; Amar Safdar; et al. (Profiled Authors: Maria E Cabanillas; Roy F Chemaly; Hagop M Kantarjian; Issam I Raad; Harrys Antonio Torres)
Background and Objectives: Little is known about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in patients with leukemia. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics, and the outcome of RSV infection with or without therapy with aerosolized ribavirin in leukemia patients. Design and Methods: We reviewed the records of 52 leukemia patients with RSV infection seen at our institution between October 2000 and March 2005. Results: The median age of the patients was 47 years (range, 1-83 years). Most patients were male (65%) and had acute leukemia (65%); 46% had received salvage chemotherapy and 62% corticosteroids before RSV infection. Compared to the 25 patients with upper respiratory tract infection (URI), the 27 patients with pneumonia had a higher median APACHE II score at the time of the first assessment at the hospital for respiratory symptoms (11 vs 16), and a higher rate of corticosteroid treatment in the month preceding the infection (48% vs 74%) (all p ≤0.05). Twenty-four (46%) patients received aerosolized ribavirin. Patients who presented with URI and were treated with ribavirin were less likely than non-treated patients to develop pneumonia (68% vs 96%, p<0.01) and possibly die of pneumonia (6% vs 36%, p=0.1). Multiple logistic regression analysis identified high APACHE II score and lack of ribavirin treatment as independent predictors of progression to pneumonia (p=0.01). Five patients (10%) died within 30 days of RSV infection; all had pneumonia. Interpretation and Conclusions: RSV infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in leukemia patients; treatment with aerosolized ribavirin at the stage of URI may prevent pneumonia in some subsets of patients. ©2007 Ferrata Storti Foundation.
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