To determine the outcome and prognostic factors associated with bone marrow transplantation (BMT), we reviewed the clinical course of 35 adult recipients of such a transplant who were admitted to our intensive-care unit (ICU). This constituted 24% of patients who underwent BMT for treatment of hematologic disorders during the study period. The reasons for admission to the ICU were postsurgical care in 5, respiratory failure in 25, shock in 4, and renal failure in 1. The in-hospital mortality was 20% for the postsurgical patients and 87% for the others. None of the postsurgical patients required mechanical ventilation, whereas 90% of the others did, and the associated mortality was 93%. Infection was the cause of the respiratory failure in all but 3 of the 25 patients and was associated with 95% mortality. Complications that involved multiple organs increased the mortality to 100%. No significant differences were found in age, sex, type of BMT, serologic tests for cytomegalovirus, history of graft-versus-host disease, conditioning regimen for BMT, and duration of stay in the ICU and the hospital between survivors and nonsurvivors. The APACHE II (acute physiology and chronic health evaluation) prognostic scoring system underestimated mortality and had no correlation with the duration of stay in the ICU or the hospital. Vasopressors, total parenteral nutrition, and transfusion of blood components in the ICU had no influence on the outcome. Open-lung biopsy was helpful in making specific diagnoses, and pulmonary artery catheters were used in most patients to guide therapy but did not improve survival. For patients who undergo BMT, admission to the ICU for reasons other than postsurgical monitoring is associated with a dismal outcome despite major diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
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