Outcome of respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory tract disease in hematopoietic cell transplant recipients receiving aerosolized ribavirin: significance of stem cell source and oxygen requirement

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2013 Apr;19(4):589-96. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2012.12.019. Epub 2013 Jan 5.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is an important complication after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), and RSV lower respiratory tract disease (LRD) results in substantial early mortality and late airflow obstruction among survivors. Factors associated with poor outcome are unknown. We evaluated the effect of transplant and treatment factors on overall survival, mortality from respiratory failure, and pulmonary function among 82 HCT recipients who had RSV LRD between 1990 and 2011. All patients received aerosolized ribavirin. In multivariable analyses, only the use of marrow or cord blood as graft source (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 4.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8 to 9.0; P < .001) and oxygen requirement (aHR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.5 to 6.7; P = .003) remained independently associated with overall mortality and death due to respiratory failure (aHR, 4.7; 95% CI, 1.8 to 13; P = .002 and aHR, 5.4; 95% CI, 1.8 to 16; P = .002, respectively). Antibody-based treatments, including intravenous immunoglobulin and palivizumab, were not independently associated with improved outcome and did not alter the associations of the graft source and oxygen requirements in statistical models. In conclusion, use of peripheral blood stem cells as graft source and lack of oxygen requirement at diagnosis appear to be important factors associated with improved survival of HCT recipients with RSV LRD. These results may explain differences in outcomes reported from RSV infection over time and may guide the design of future interventional trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aerosols / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation / mortality
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / mortality
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects*
  • Palivizumab
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / complications
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / mortality
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / therapy*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / virology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / drug effects
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aerosols
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Ribavirin
  • Palivizumab