Sepsis in Immunocompromised Patients Without Human Immunodeficiency Virus

J Infect Dis. 2020 Jul 21;222(Suppl 2):S156-S165. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa320.


Sepsis remains among the most common complications from infectious diseases worldwide. The morbidity and mortality rates associated with sepsis range from 20% to 50%. The advances in care for patients with an immunocompromised status have been remarkable over the last 2 decades, but sepsis continues to be a major cause of death in this population Immunocompromised patients who are recipients of a solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplant are living longer with a better quality of life. However, some of these patients need lifelong treatment with immunosuppressive medications to maintain their transplant status. A consequence of the need for this permanent immunosuppression is the high risk of opportunistic, community, and hospital-acquired infections, all of which can lead to sepsis. In addition, the detection of serious infections may be more challenging owing to patients' lower ability to mount the clinical symptoms that usually accompany sepsis. This article provides an update on the current knowledge of sepsis in immunocompromised patients without human immunodeficiency virus. It reviews the most pertinent causes of sepsis in this population, and addresses the specific diagnostic and therapeutic challenges in neutropenia and solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Keywords: immunocompromised; sepsis; solid organ transplant; stem cell transplant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections
  • Cross Infection
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Opportunistic Infections
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sepsis*