Of 320 patients receiving a marrow transplant at the Hospital de Sant Pau between 1986 and 1992, 12% developed viridans streptococcal bacteremia during severe neutropenia. Five of these patients (13%) developed a rapidly progressive fatal shock syndrome characterized by bilateral pulmonary infiltrates, acute respiratory failure (ARDS) and septic shock early in the transplantation course (6 or 7 days posttransplantation). All patients were transplanted for acute leukemia in remission, and 2 received an allogeneic and 3 an autologous transplant. Four of these subjects were younger than 15 years of age and all had received cyclophosphamide and total body irradiation as conditioning regimen for marrow transplantation. All 5 patients died, and postmortem examinations revealed diffuse pulmonary lesions characteristic of the ARDS. These observations contribute to defining the clinical and pathologic characteristics of this serious complication of intensive anticancer treatment.

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