Bloodstream Infections and Delayed Antibiotic Coverage Are Associated With Negative Hospital Outcomes in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

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Background: Bloodstream infections (BSIs) are common after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and are associated with increased long-term morbidity and mortality. However, short-term outcomes related to BSI in this population remain unknown. More specifically, it is unclear whether choices related to empiric antimicrobials for potentially infected patients are associated with patient outcomes. Research Question: Are potential delays in appropriate antibiotics associated with hospital outcomes among HSCT recipients with BSI? Study Design and Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study at a large comprehensive inpatient academic cancer center between January 2014 and June 2017. We identified all admissions for HSCT and prior recipients of HSCT. We defined potential delay in appropriate antibiotics as > 24 h between positive blood culture results and the initial dose of an antimicrobial with activity against the pathogen. Results: We evaluated 2,751 hospital admissions from 1,086 patients. Of these admissions, 395 (14.4%) involved one or more BSIs. Of these 395 hospitalizations, 44 (11.1%) involved potential delays in appropriate antibiotics. The incidence of mortality was higher in BSI hospitalizations than in those without BSI (23% vs 4.5%; P <.001). In multivariable analysis, BSI was an independent predictor of mortality (OR, 8.14; 95% CI, 5.06-13.1; P <.001). Mortality was higher for admissions with potentially delayed appropriate antibiotics than for those with appropriate antibiotics (48% vs 20%; P <.001). Potential delay in antibiotics was also an independent predictor of mortality in multivariable analysis (OR, 13.8; 95% CI, 5.27-35.9; P <.001). Interpretation: BSIs were common and independently associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Delays in administration of appropriate antimicrobials were identified as an important factor in hospital morbidity and mortality. These findings may have important implications for our current practice of empiric antibiotic treatment in HSCT patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1385-1396
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • antibiotics
  • bacteremia
  • bloodstream infection
  • bone marrow transplant
  • fungemia
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplant
  • mortality


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