Objective: To ascertain the etiology and outcome of episodes of bacteremia and fungemia over a three-year period (1990-1992) in patients with hematological malignancies.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: Hematology service of a 1,500-bed Spanish university hospital.
Results: Of a total of 178 episodes of significant bacteremia or fungemia in 101 patients, 53% affected patients with acute leukemia. Gram-positive microorganisms were found to be the cause in 70% of the monomicrobial episodes. The most frequently isolated microorganism was coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (35%), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (11%). Most blood-stream infections occurred during an episode of neutropenia (59%). A total of 34 patients died during hospitalization; in 14, infection was the cause of death.
Conclusions: A marked increase in the incidence of bacteremias caused by gram-positive microorganisms has been observed in our hospital over the last 10 years, especially in patients with hematological malignancies. The mortality due to bacteremia is similar to that found by other authors in series of bacteremia in hematological patients, and we have not found significant differences in the mortality due to bacteremia between neutropenic and non-neutropenic patients (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1994;15:101-104).