Hemato-Oncology Patients in Acute Respiratory Failure in the ICU
R. Ben-Abraham, E. Segal, I. Hardan, D. Shpilberg,S. Stemer, A. Shitrit, I. Ben-Bassat, A. Perel
Depts. of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Hematology, Oncology and Clinical Epidemiology; Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
Hemato-oncology patients needing mechanical ventilation for acute respiratory failure (ARF) have an extremely poor prognosis, with a mortality of more than 90%. Over an 18 month-period 17 such patients were admitted to our ICU. Diagnoses included leukemia (11 cases), lymphoma (1), and status post bone marrow transplantation for leukemia, lymphoma or breast cancer (5). Of 8 whose ARF was associated with septic complications due to neutropenia following chemotherapy, 6 survived. Of 9 who developed ARF due to toxic damage to vital organs following high-dose chemotherapy, 2 survived. Those who develop ARF during chemotherapy are expected to have an increase in granulocyte count within days, and have a surprisingly good prognosis. They should be admitted to the ICU and treated aggressively. Those who develop sepsis due their primary disease and whose general condition contraindicates chemotherapy, have an extremely grave prognosis and admission to the ICU may not be warranted.