We describe two patients with acute leukaemia who died of massive haemoptysis caused by invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA). The fatal event occurred during the period of bone marrow remission which followed chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. This is a rare complication. We were able to find additional 17 similar cases in the English literature, which we review. Clinically, the picture consisted of unremitting fever with profound and prolonged neutropenia, cough and dyspnoea. Both our patients were treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluconazole and amphotericin B. An upper lobe infiltrate in one case, and a progressive pleural effusion in the other, were late findings on chest radiographs during the period of bone marrow recovery. Both patients succumbed to sudden massive haemoptysis during the period of bone marrow and clinical improvement. In conclusion, patients with acute non-lymphoid leukaemia are at significant risk for IPA-induced fatal haemoptysis during bone marrow and clinical remission. A high index of suspicion should be sustained throughout the entire clinical course. In view of the potential fatal outcome, aggressive diagnostic and treatment efforts are mandatory.
Copyright 2000 The British Infection Society.