Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 847–855 | Cite as

Impact of recent intravenous chemotherapy on outcome in severe sepsis and septic shock patients with hematological malignancies

  • Dominique M. VandijckEmail author
  • Dominique D. Benoit
  • Pieter O. Depuydt
  • Fritz C. Offner
  • Stijn I. Blot
  • Anna K. Van Tilborgh
  • Joke Nollet
  • Eva Steel
  • Lucien A. Noens
  • Johan M. Decruyenaere



To compare the characteristics and outcome of patients with hematological malignancies referred to the ICU with severe sepsis and septic shock who had or had not received recent intravenous chemotherapy, defined as within 3 weeks prior to ICU admission.

Design and setting

Retrospective observational cohort study on prospectively collected data in a medical ICU of a university hospital.


186 ICU patients with hematological malignancies with severe sepsis or septic shock (2000–2006).

Measurements and results

There were 77 patients admitted with severe sepsis and 109 with septic shock; 91 (49%) had received recent intravenous chemotherapy. Patients with recent chemotherapy more often had a high-grade malignancy and were more often neutropenic, less often had pulmonary infiltrates, and less often required mechanical ventilation. ICU, 28-day, in-hospital, and 6-month mortality rates were 33% vs. 48.4%, 40.7% vs. 57.4%, 45.1% vs. 58.9%, and 50.5% vs. 63.2% in patients with and without recent chemotherapy, respectively. Logistic regression identified four variables independently associated with 28-day mortality: SOFA score at ICU admission, pulmonary site of infection, and fungal infection were associated with worse outcome whereas previous intravenous chemotherapy was protective at borderline significance. After adjustment with a propensity score for recent chemotherapy, chemotherapy was not associated with outcome.


Patients referred to the ICU with severe sepsis and septic shock complicating active chemotherapeutic treatment have better prognosis than commonly perceived.


Severe sepsis Septic shock Hematological malignancy Intensive care unit Outcome Intravenous chemotherapy 



D.V. is financially supported by a Doctoral Grant from the Special Scientific Research Fund of the Ghent University. None of the authors have financial or other potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominique M. Vandijck
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dominique D. Benoit
    • 1
  • Pieter O. Depuydt
    • 1
  • Fritz C. Offner
    • 2
  • Stijn I. Blot
    • 1
  • Anna K. Van Tilborgh
    • 2
  • Joke Nollet
    • 1
  • Eva Steel
    • 2
  • Lucien A. Noens
    • 2
  • Johan M. Decruyenaere
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care MedicineGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of HematologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium

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