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Luca Guarnera
Gentiana Elena Trotta
Valentina Boldrini
Lucia Cardillo
Ilaria Cerroni
Valeria Mezzanotte
Gianmario Pasqualone
Arianna Savi
Beatrice Borsellino
Elisa Buzzatti
Raffaele Palmieri
Giovangiacinto Paterno
Luca Maurillo
Francesco Buccisano
Adriano Venditti
Maria Ilaria Del Principe


Acute Myeloid leukemia, fever of unknown origin, Colonization, Multidrug-resistant organisms


Abstract. Background: Colonization by multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) is a frequent complication in hematologic departments, which puts patients at risk of life-threatening bacterial sepsis. Fever of unknown origin (FUO) is a condition related to the delivery of chemotherapy in hematologic malignancies, in which the use of antibiotics is debated. The incidence, risk factors, and influence on the outcome of these conditions in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are not clearly defined.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 132 consecutive admissions of non-promyelocytic AML patients at the Hematology Unit of the University Tor Vergata in Rome between June 2019 and February 2022. MDRO swab-based screening was performed in all patients on the day of admission and once weekly after that. FUO was defined as fever with no evidence of infection.
Results: Of 132 consecutive hospitalizations (69 AML patients), MDRO colonization was observed in 35 cases (26%) and resulted independently related to a previous MDRO colonization (p=0.001) and length of hospitalization (p=0.03). The colonization persistence rate in subsequent admissions was 64%. MDRO-related bloodstream infection was observed in 8 patients (23%) and correlated with grade III/IV mucositis (p=0.008) and length of hospitalization (p=0.02). FUO occurred in 68 cases (51%) and correlated with an absolute neutrophilic count <500μ/L at admission (0.04).
Conclusion: In our experience, MDRO colonization is a frequent and difficult-to-eradicate condition that can arise at all stages of treatment. Prompt discharge of patients as soon as clinical conditions allow could limit the spread of MDRO. In addition, the appropriate use of antibiotics, especially in the case of FUO, and the contraction of hospitalization length, when feasible, are measures to tackle the further spread of MDRO.


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