Out-patient management of acute myeloid leukemia after consolidation chemotherapy. Role of a hematologic emergency unit

Corrado Girmenia, Giuliana Alimena, Roberto Latagliata, Salvatore Giacomo Morano, Francesca Celesti, Lorenzo Coppola, Antonio Spadea, Silvia Tosti, Sergio Mecarocci, Gianna Maria D'Elia, Agostino Tafuri, Giuseppe Cimino, Franco Mandelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective. Increasing attention to quality of life and to health care costs has recently induced several cancer centers to change in- patient management into an out-patient setting even during high-risk phases of disease. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate feasibility and safety, as well as clinical characteristics, of out-hospital management of AML patients during their post-consolidation phase. Design and Methods. All patients who were treated over a three year period by the three following protocols were included in the study: AML10 EORTC/GIMEMA for patients with AML, except for APL, aged ≤ 60 years; AML 13 EORTC/GIMEMA, for patients with AML, except for APL, aged>60 years; AIDA GIMEMA for APL patients. All patients submitted to the AML10 and AML13 protocols and those patients submitted to the AIDA protocol with difficult peripheral vein access had a central venous catheter (CVC) sited. Patients treated as in-patients were discharged at the end of consolidation chemotherapy provided they were in a good clinical condition. They were routinely evaluated on an out-patient basis twice weekly, in the event of any complication they were referred to the Emergency Unit of our Department dedicated to out-patients with hematologic diseases. Results. One hundred and eleven patients with AML were eligible for Intensive chemotherapy. After achievement of complete remission they received a total of 133 consolidation courses and in 127 instances they were followed on an out-patient basis during the aplastic phase. There were 69 cases (54%) of rehospitalization, 68 because of fever and only one because of severe anemia. Rehospitalization occurred in 90%, 70% and 38% of courses in AML10, AML13 and AIDA protocols, respectively. Only one patient died: the cause of death was a brain hemorrhage. Coagulase negative staphylococci and viridans streptococci were the organisms most frequently isolated from blood. Most coagulase negative staphylococci were isolated in patients submitted to AML10 and AML13 protocols, who had an indwelling CVC. Empiric once-a-day antibacterial therapy with ceftriaxone and amikacin was effective in 75% of the cases and made early discharge possible in 28% of the cases with antibiotic therapy continued in an out-patient setting. Overall, patients were managed out of the hospital for 66% of the period of post-consolidation neutropenia (77%, 48% and 50% of the post-consolidation neutropenia period in patients treated with AIDA, AML10 and AML13 protocols, respectively). Interpretation and Conclusions. Thanks to the availability of an emergency unit specifically dedicated to out-patients with hematologic diseases, selected out-hospital management of AML patients during post-consolidation cytopenia is a feasible, well-accepted and cost-saving option, and can contribute to lower the risk of developing severe nosocomial infections. The empiric therapy with once-a-day ceftriaxone plus amikacin was effective, with the exception of staphylococcal infections, and made it possible to discharge patients early to continue treatment in an outpatient setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-819
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Ceftriaxone plus amikacin
  • Emergency unit
  • Infections
  • Out-patient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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