Conference Coverage

Study confirms higher risk of infection with CB transplant


Amandeep Godara, MD

SALT LAKE CITY—Results of a large, retrospective analysis support the notion that patients who receive cord blood (CB) transplants have a higher risk of infection than other hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients.

Investigators found that CB recipients had a significantly higher risk of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections in the early post-transplant period than patients who received peripheral blood (PB) or bone marrow (BM) transplants.

In addition, CB recipients had longer hospital stays, higher inpatient costs, and greater inpatient mortality than PB and BM recipients.

Amandeep Godara, MD, of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, presented these results at the 2018 BMT Tandem Meetings (abstract 30*).

“Infections are considered more common in cord blood transplant recipients based on some prior retrospective analyses,” Dr Godara noted. “But there is limited data comparing these infectious complications between cord blood transplant and peripheral blood/bone marrow stem cell transplants during the inpatient stay for the stem cell transplant.”

With this in mind, Dr Godara and his colleagues analyzed data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Inpatient Sample. This database covers 46 US states and contains data from more than 7 million hospital stays each year.

The investigators searched the database for hospital admissions for HSCT from 2002 to 2014. They identified 2979 CB transplants and 56,845 PB or BM transplants.

The CB recipients had a median age of 48, and 55% were male. Fifty-nine percent were white, 18% Hispanic, 13% black, 5% Asian, and 5% “other.” Sixty-six percent of patients had acute leukemia, 18% non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 5% Hodgkin lymphoma, and 11% “other” diseases.

The PB/BM recipients had a median age of 45, and 58% were male. Seventy-nine percent were white, 8% Hispanic, 6% black, 3% Asian, and 4% “other.” Sixty-one percent of patients had acute leukemia, 16% non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 4% Hodgkin lymphoma, and 19% “other” diseases.


Dr Godara and his colleagues compared the rates and types of infection from the time of HSCT to hospital discharge in CB and PB/BM recipients. The team also compared early inpatient mortality, the cost of hospitalization, and the length of hospital stay.

“[W]e observed a higher risk for infections in cord blood transplant patients compared to peripheral blood and bone marrow stem cell transplant patients, and this risk for infection extended through a wide spectrum of pathogens,” Dr Godara said.

“We also observed a higher all-cause inpatient mortality in cord blood transplant compared to peripheral blood and bone marrow transplant, especially in patients who had bacterial sepsis or invasive fungal infection.”

The rate of bacterial sepsis was 34.87% in CB recipients and 20.20% in PB/BM recipients (P<0.0001). Rates of viral infection were 20.05% and 8.19%, respectively (P<0.0001). And rates of invasive fungal infection were 12.87% and 7.89% (P<0.0001).

There was a similar distribution of bacterial infections in CB and PB/BM recipients. The most common was pneumonia (47% and 41%, respectively), followed by abdominal infections (29% and 31%, respectively), urinary tract infections (17% and 21%, respectively), central line-associated bloodstream infections (4% and 6%, respectively), and acute sinusitis (3% and 1%, respectively).

The rate of Clostridium difficile infection was significantly higher in CB recipients than PB/BM recipients—11.75% and 8.90%, respectively (P=0.02). However, there was no significant difference in mortality related to C. difficile—14% and 10%, respectively (P=0.3).

On the other hand, all-cause inpatient mortality was significantly higher in CB recipients than PB/BM recipients—16% and 7%, respectively (P<0.0001).

Inpatient mortality rates were significantly higher for CB recipients with bacterial sepsis (33% vs 23%, P=0.001) and invasive fungal infections (29% vs 16%, P=0.0045) but not viral infections (19% vs 17%, P=0.5).

The median length of hospital stay was 36 days for CB recipients and 25 days for PB/BM recipients. The mean inpatient charges were $448,892 and $250,437 respectively.

*Data in the abstract differ from the presentation.

Next Article: