Bacterial and Atypical Infections in Critically Ill Cancer Patients

  • Alejandro De la Hoz
  • Jorge Alberto CortésEmail author
Reference work entry


The increasing survival in cancer patients has transformed the management of critically ill cancer patients into a crucial factor affecting prognosis. Cancer patients are, by definition, immunocompromised hosts at risk of severe bacterial infections, which significantly increase mortality. Knowing the infectious etiology in cancer patients in the ICU is essential for critical care clinicians, given the need for empiric therapy in most scenarios involving sepsis or respiratory failure. Bacteria are the most common pathogens causing infections in oncologic, hematologic, and critically ill patients. In the last decades, the epidemiology of bacterial infections has changed with an increasing number of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria causing infections in critically ill cancer patients. Several studies analyzing infections in the ICU have described S. aureus, CoNS, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, and K. pneumoniae as the most frequently isolated bacteria in the ICU. However, the epidemiology and distribution of bacterial infections is determined by factors such as severity and duration of neutropenia, the intensity of antineoplastic therapy, antimicrobial prophylaxis, the use of central venous catheters, environmental factors, and duration of hospitalization. The aim of this review is to provide critical care clinicians with an overview on relevant and current information on the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of bacterial and atypical infections in the oncologic ICU.


Bacterial infections Critical care Neoplasms Epidemiology Antibacterial agents Bacterial drug resistance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grupo de Investigación en Enfermedades InfecciosasHospital Universitario San IgnacioBogotáColombia
  2. 2.School of MedicinePontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotáColombia
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineNational University of ColombiaBogotaColombia

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