Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

COVID-19 pandemic transforms AML and MDS care

Key clinical point: COVID-19 has fundamentally transformed how some institutions care for MDS and AML patients.

Major finding: Patients undergoing allogeneic transplantation spend up to 5 weeks in the hospital alone as hospitals have moved to no-visitor policies.

Study details: Description of changes in AML and MDS patient care at Columbia University-related facilities.

Disclosures: No funding or conflict information was providing.


“Patients with MDS and AML are at high risk from complications of COVID-19 infection due to their older age, immune-compromised state and their dependence on hospital systems with the need for frequent blood checks, transfusions and therapy. With the onset of the pandemic, several changes in treatments were adapted including delay of maintenance treatments, reduction in dose and number of consolidation treatments and delay of elective transplants. Lower risk patients were managed by remote tele-visits and in-home care.

While some of these changes were data driven, many others were adapted as a result of clinical judgment during unprecedented times. The ultimate effect on MDS and leukemia patients can only be realized with increased cooperation in gathering data on survival and consequences of these changes. This is extremely important if COVID-19 virus continues to spread and our aspiration to invent a vaccine is not realized. On a positive note, we have learned to care for patients in the comfort of their homes and a new era of telemedicine is indeed here to stay.”

Pinkal Desai, MD, MPH

Weill Cornell Medicine


Raza A et al. Leukemia Research Reports. 2020;13: