Background: Because of the assumed dismal prognosis
there is still reluctance to admit haematological patients to the intensive care unit (ICU). This study was conducted to determine trends in outcome of allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients transferred to the intensive care unit in a Dutch tertiary care hospital. Methods: All patients who received allogeneic HSCT between 2004-2010 were included in the analyses. Baseline and outcome characteristics were compared and risk factors for ICU admission and survival were identified. Changes in outcome over time of three cohorts of HSCT recipients were investigated. Results: Of 319 consecutive HSCT recipients, 49 (15%) were
transferred to the ICU for a median (IQR) of 10 (6-45) days following their transplantation, of whom 43% were severely neutropenic and 90% had received systemic immunosuppressive therapy for graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis. Univariate logistic regression showed that transplantation from an unrelated donor and myeloablative conditioning were significant risk factors for ICU admission. Prolonged use of vasopressors, invasive mechanical ventilation and male gender were significant predictors for ICU mortality, while neutropenia and graft-versus-host disease were not. Over the years, APACHE-II severity of illness scores remained unchanged (21.0±7.1, 20.1±5.6, 21.2±6.6), while 100-day post-transplant mortality of patients who had been transferred to the ICU decreased significantly from 78% (2004/2005) to 57% (2006/2007), and 35% (2008/2009). Conclusions: While for allogeneic HSCT patients the severity of illness on admission to the ICU did not change, the 100-day post-transplant survival improved. These data indicate that reluctance to submit haematological patients to the ICU is not warranted.