Corticosteroid use as adjunct therapy for respiratory syncytial virus infection in adult allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients

Moussab Damlaj, G. Bartoo, R. Cartin-Ceba, D. Gijima, H. B. Alkhateeb, J. Merten, S. Hashmi, M. Litzow, D. Gastineau, W. Hogan, M. M. Patnaik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection causes significant morbidity and mortality in allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT) recipients. Although ribavirin and immunoglobulins are common components of therapy, the role of adjunct corticosteroids is not established. Objectives: We sought to evaluate corticosteroid utilization in the setting of post-allo-SCT RSV infection in our center and assess post-transplant outcomes including pulmonary function decline. Methods: Patients with a history of RSV infection from 2008 to 2014 seen at our institution were identified. Treatment and outcome data were retrospectively collected. Forced expiratory volume at 1 s (FEV1) and carbon monoxide diffusion capacity (DLCO) were collected pre- and post-RSV infection. Results: During the observation period, RSV was isolated in 53 of 552 patients undergoing allo-SCT (10%) and 45 had evaluable therapy data. RSV-related mortality in this cohort was 4/45 (9%). Twenty-one (47%) were on corticosteroids prior to RSV diagnosis, of whom 11 (24%) had a dose increase post symptom onset. Eight (18%) patients were started on corticosteroids at the time of RSV infection. Corticosteroid therapy at symptom onset was associated with a higher rate of upper respiratory infection (URTI) to lower respiratory infection (LRTI) progression risk ratio (RR) 2.49 (1.21-5.13; P = 0.016), hospital admission RR 2.05 (1.24-3.37; P = 0.005), or intensive care unit admission RR 2.91 (1.89-5.01; P = 0.002). No significant difference was seen with FEV1 and DLCO decline (P = 0.3 and 0.24, respectively) or mortality (P = 0.26). Conclusion: Adjunct corticosteroid use in the setting of RSV infection did not improve RSV-related outcomes including long-term pulmonary function. Our results do not support the routine use of corticosteroids; however, this finding does need to be verified in a larger cohort of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-226
Number of pages11
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Allogeneic stem cell transplant
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans
  • Corticosteroids
  • Respiratory syncytial virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Transplantation


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