, Volume 31, Issue 7, pp 934-942
Date: 22 Mar 2005

Documented and clinically suspected bacterial infection precipitating intensive care unit admission in patients with hematological malignancies: impact on outcome

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To assess the impact of documented and clinically suspected bacterial infection precipitating ICU admission on in-hospital mortality in patients with hematological malignancies.

Design and setting

Prospective observational study in a 14-bed medical ICU at a tertiary university hospital.


A total of 172 consecutive patients with hematological malignancies admitted to the ICU for a life-threatening complication over a 4-year period were categorized into three main groups according to their admission diagnosis (documented bacterial infection, clinically suspected bacterial infection, nonbacterial complications) by an independent panel of three physicians blinded to the patient’s outcome and C-reactive protein levels.


In-hospital and 6-months mortality rates in documented bacterial infection (n=42), clinically suspected bacterial infection (n=40) vs. nonbacterial complications (n=90) were 50.0% and 42.5% vs. 65.6% (p=0.09 and 0.02) and 56.1% and 48.7% vs. 72.1% (p=0.11 and 0.02), respectively. Median baseline C-reactive protein levels in the first two groups were 23 mg/dl and 21.5 mg/dl vs. 10.7 mg/dl (p<0.001 and p=0.001) respectively. After adjustment for the severity of critical and underlying hematological illness and the duration of hospitalization before admission documented (OR 0.20; 95% CI 0.06–0.62, p=0.006) and clinically suspected bacterial infection (OR 0.18; 95% CI 0.06–0.53, p=0.002) were associated with a more favorable outcome than nonbacterial complications.


Severely ill patients with hematological malignancies admitted to the ICU because of documented or clinically suspected bacterial infection have a better outcome than those admitted with nonbacterial complications. These patients should receive advanced life-supporting therapy for an appropriate period of time