Down Syndrome Ups Risk for Infection-Related Death in Pediatric ALL

“Researchers have identified Down syndrome as a major risk factor for infection-related mortality among pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) enrolled in the Medical Research Council UKALL 2003 trial.

“ ‘Our analysis demonstrated that a significant proportion of sepsis deaths occurred during induction and during periods of neutropenia,’ wrote researchers led by David O’ Connor, MD, of Imperial College London. ‘Thus increased awareness of the potential for septic complications is required when caring for patients during these high-risk periods.’ ”

“The currently reported rates of treatment-related mortality in trials of patients with ALL is between 2% and 4%, with the most common cause being infection. With ALL having such high survival rates in low-risk patients, reducing infection-related mortality is an important goal for improving outcomes with children with this disease, according to O’Connor and colleagues.”