Pneumonia After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

  • Catherine Cordonnier


Pneumonia is the main cause of morbidity and mortality after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Two thirds of pneumonias observed after both autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantations are of infectious origin, and coinfections are frequent. One third is due to noninfectious process, such as alveolar hemorrhage, alveolar proteinosis, or alloimmune pulmonary complications such as bronchiolitis obliterans or idiopathic interstitial pneumonitis. Most of these noninfectious complications may require treatment with corticosteroids which may be deleterious in infection. On the other hand, these complications either mimic or may be complicated with infections. Therefore, a precise diagnosis of pneumonia is of crucial importance to decide of the optimal treatment. CT scan is the best procedure for imaging of the lung. Although several indirect biomarkers, such as serum or plasma galactomannan or (1-3) β(beta)-G-glucan, can help in the etiological diagnosis, only direct invasive investigations provide the best chance to identify the cause(s) of pneumonia. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) under fiberoptic bronchoscopy is the procedure of choice to identify the cause of pulmonary infection. It is safe and reproducible, and its diagnostic yield is around 50 % if the BAL fluid is processed at the laboratory according to a prespecified protocol established between the transplanter, the infectious diseases’ specialist, the pneumologist, and the laboratory, allowing the identification of the most likely hypotheses. Transbronchial biopsy does not provide significant additional information to BAL in most cases and more often complicates with bleeding and pneumothorax. In case of a noncontributory BAL, the decision to proceed to a second BAL, a transthoracic biopsy, or a surgical biopsy should be cautiously weighted in a multidisciplinary approach in regard to the benefits and risks of invasive procedures versus empirical treatment.


Pneumonia Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation Bronchoalveolar lavage Fiberoptic bronchoscopy Lung biopsy 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hematology and Cellular TherapyHenri Mondor Hospital, Assistance-Publique Hopitaux de Paris, University Paris-Est CréteilCréteilFrance

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