Infection is one of the main causes of early-treatment mortality in multiple myeloma (MM) patients during autologous stem cell transplantation (autoSCT). In the present study, we sought to determine the incidence of, and risk factors for, infection during hospital stays after autoSCT. We retrospectively evaluated 324 autoSCT events that occurred in 285 MM patients between 2006 and 2015, and reviewed the clinical characteristics of patients and history of infections. Sixty-eight infection events occurred, including bacteremia (24), other bacterial infections (7), as well as infections caused by Cytomegalovirus (17), Herpes simplex virus (12), Varicella zoster virus (3), Aspergillus (3) and Pneumocystis jiroveci (2). There was no significant difference in number of infections in the 2006–2010 and 2011–2015 periods (P = 0.194). Risk factors for bacteremia included higher beta-2 microglobulin levels at diagnosis [≥3.5 mg/L; adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3.544 (95% CI 1.070–11.736), P = 0.038] and previous bortezomib treatment [aOR 4.270 (95% CI 1.389–13.125), P = 0.011]. In-hospital mortality occurred in 1.2% of all cases and all were infection-related. In conclusion, infection was the main cause of in-hospital mortality in patients who underwent autoSCT. Bacteremia was the most common type of microbiologically confirmed infection, and was associated with higher beta-2 microglobulin levels and previous bortezomib treatment.
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