OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to analyze the characteristics and infectious complications of neutropenic patients in a referral hospital. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out between April and September 2008, which enrolled all neutropenic patients identified by daily blood counts in the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Demographic data and information on infections were obtained from the Hospital Infection Control Committee. Statistical analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences. RESULTS: One hundred and sixteen patients were followed up during 129 hospitalizations. The patients had a mean age of 48.7 years old. Sixty-four (55.2%) patients were male and 25 (21.6%) died during the follow-up. In 97 (75.2%) of the hospitalizations, patients had episodes of febrile neutropenia. Patients classified as low-riskhad a mortality rate of 16.2% (n = 12) vs. 39.1% (n = 9) among high-risk patients (p-value = 0.02). The death rate of the patients who had been submitted to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was 13.5% (n = 5)vs. 26.7% (n = 16) among patients not submitted to transplantation (p-value = 0.13). Of the 155 infections diagnosed, 45.5% were defined as clinically documented. The etiological agent most frequently isolated was Escherichia coli and the main topography reported was bloodstream infections. The most used antimicrobial agents were cefepime, vancomycin and fluconazole. Approximately 24% of patients evolved with impaired renal function during hospitalization. CONCLUSION: Most reported infections in neutropenic patients were defined as clinically documented, which shows the importance of suspicion in patients without specific signs and symptoms for early diagnosis and the need for the classification of risk for timely interventions
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