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Post-Transplant Complications

Neuropathological findings after bone marrow transplantation: an autopsy study of 180 cases


We prospectively evaluated the neuropathological complications of 180 patients who underwent autopsy studies following bone marrow transplantation (BMT) (177 allogeneic, three autologous). The most frequent underlying disorders included severe aplastic anemia (n = 55), chronic myelogenous leukemia (n = 53), acute myelogenous leukemia (n = 24) and Fanconi anemia (n = 16). There were 114 males and 66 females. Neuropathological findings were detected in 90.55% of the patients. The most frequent findings were subarachnoid hemorrhages (SAH) (n = 57), intraparenchymal hemorrhages (IHP) (n = 49), fungal infections (n = 16), Wernicke's encephalopathy (n = 10), microglial nodular encephalopathy (n = 10) and neurotoxoplasmosis (n = 8). In only 17 patients was the brain within normal limits. Survival time after BMT averaged 5.4 months and the majority of patients died in the first 3 months post BMT (n = 105). Central nervous system (CNS) pathology was the main cause of death in 17% of the patients (n = 31), with a predominance of IHP in this particular group. Furthermore, the survival time of these patients who died of CNS causes (96.3 days) was almost half of the survival time of those who died of extra-cerebral causes (177.8 days) (P = 0.0162). IHP (70.96 vs27.22%) (P < 0.001), fungal infections (25.8 vs 8.88%) (P < 0.001) and toxoplasmosis (9.67 vs 4.44%) (P < 0.001) were significantly more frequent in the group of patients who died due to CNS causes than in the control group. The findings of this work provide a possible guide to the possible causes of neurological syndromes following BMT. Bone Marrow Transplantation (2000) 25, 301–307.

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We are indebted to Miss Heliz Regina Neves and Marco Bittencourt, MD for data analysis help.

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Bleggi-Torres, L., de Medeiros, B., Werner, B. et al. Neuropathological findings after bone marrow transplantation: an autopsy study of 180 cases. Bone Marrow Transplant 25, 301–307 (2000).

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  • central nervous system
  • bone marrow transplantation
  • cerebrovascular disorders
  • infections

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