Objective. - To define the frequency and outcome of organ dysfunction in bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and to determine if patients with organ dysfunction have lower levels of protein C (PC) and/or antithrombin III (ATIII) than those without organ dysfunction. Design. - Inception cohort of patients undergoing BMT, followed for 28 days, until hospital dismissal, or until death. Setting. - Bone marrow transplant department of a university hospital. Patients. - A total of 199 consecutive patients admitted for BMT. Interventions. - Standard supportive care was given to all patients. Main Outcome Measures. - Definitions of organ dysfunction were arrived at prior to beginning the study. They include pulmonary, central nervous system (CNS), hepatic, and renal dysfunction. Protein C and ATIII levels were measured prior to beginning the preparative regimen and weekly thereafter. Results. - Single organ dysfunction, manifesting as pulmonary, CNS, or hepatic dysfunction, occurred in 93 (48.5%) of the 199 patients and was a strong predictor of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and death. Death occurred in 14 (7.0%) of the patients. Cause of death was precisely identified in only four patients. Low levels of either PC or ATIII were associated with death and pulmonary, CNS, and hepatic dysfunction. Multivariate analysis showed ATIII and PC levels were associated with single organ dysfunction independent of the type of transplant, the type of preparative regimen, and the presence of bacteremia. Conclusions. - Single organ dysfunction during BMT is a marker for a systemic abnormality that has a high likelihood of progressing to MODS, similar to that seen in other critically ill patient populations. MODS is the leading cause of death in series of BMT patients. Low levels of ATIII and PC are markers of and may be involved in the pathogenesis of MODS in BMT.
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