The American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy () has released for the care of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and cellular therapy patients in the light of the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
The guidelines, summarized briefly below, focus on diagnostic and treatment considerations, evaluation of patients prior to initializing HCT and cellular therapy, and cell donor evaluation. Much of the guideline relies upondeveloped by the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ESBMT). These guidelines were .
The ASTCT document focuses on patient-treatment specifics and does not cover specific infection-prevention policies and procedures, instead suggesting that local and institutional guidelines, such as those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, should be followed. They did recommend that, in the local presence of COVID-19, “clinic visits that are not critical should be either deferred or substituted with telemedicine visits if deemed appropriate and feasible.”
In any patient with upper or lower respiratory symptoms, obtain polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for SARS-CoV-2, where possible, in addition to other respiratory virus PCR testing from any respiratory sample obtained, following CDC recommendations for sample collection and processing, which are continuously being updated on the
These recommendations include nasal sampling, rather than oral sampling, and the discouraging of nasal washes where avoidable. If nasal washing is performed, it should be done with appropriate personal protective equipment as described by the CDC. The CDC has also providedfor known and suspected COVID-19 patients in health care settings.
In patients positive for SARS-CoV-2 in an upper respiratory tract sample, chest imaging should be considered.
Preliminary reports suggest that there may be a discrepancy between upper- and lower-tract specimen positivity. Therefore, even when SARS-CoV-2 is not detected in an upper respiratory sample, the ASTCT recommends that chest imaging should be considered for lower respiratory tract infection when clinical symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection are present, including shortness of breath, hypoxia, and tachypnea.
With regard to routine bronchoalveolar lavage, the ASTCT recommends against it if a patient tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 given the risk of transmission among health care workers. The exception is in the case of suspected coinfection based on abnormal chest imaging and in patients for whom it is clinically indicated (for example, those receiving invasive mechanical ventilation). In addition to testing bronchoalveolar lavage samples for SARS-CoV-2, “copathogens should be evaluated and treated.”