COVID-19 disease in children and adolescents following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: A report from the Turkish pediatric bone marrow transplantation study group

Pediatr Transplant. 2024 May;28(3):e14758. doi: 10.1111/petr.14758.


Background: Data on the risk factors and outcomes for pediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are limited.

Objectives: The study aimed to analyze the clinical signs, risk factors, and outcomes for ICU admission and mortality in a large pediatric cohort who underwent allogeneic HSCT prior to COVID-19 infection.

Method: In this nationwide study, we retrospectively reviewed the data of 184 pediatric HSCT recipients who had COVID-19 between March 2020 and August 2022.

Results: The median time from HSCT to COVID-19 infection was 209.0 days (IQR, 111.7-340.8; range, 0-3845 days). The most common clinical manifestation was fever (58.7%). While most patients (78.8%) had asymptomatic/mild disease, the disease severity was moderate in 9.2% and severe and critical in 4.4% and 7.6%, respectively. The overall mortality was 10.9% (n: 20). Deaths were attributable to COVID-19 in nine (4.9%) patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD) (OR, 23.20, p: .001) and lymphopenia at diagnosis (OR, 5.21, p: .006) were risk factors for ICU admission and that HSCT from a mismatched donor (OR, 54.04, p: .028), multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) (OR, 31.07, p: .003), and LRTD (OR, 10.11, p: .035) were associated with a higher risk for COVID-19-related mortality.

Conclusion: While COVID-19 is mostly asymptomatic or mild in pediatric transplant recipients, it can cause ICU admission in those with LRTD or lymphopenia at diagnosis and may be more fatal in those who are transplanted from a mismatched donor and those who develop MIS-C or LRTD.

Keywords: COVID‐19; adolescents; children; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / mortality
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Turkey / epidemiology