Oral infections and septicemia in immunocompromised patients with hematologic malignancies.


To estimate the role of oral infections during septicemic episodes in immunocompromised patients with hematologic malignancies, 78 febrile episodes in 46 patients were monitored with daily clinical and microbiological investigations. The 19 septicemic episodes did not differ from the 59 other febrile episodes in the qualitative composition of the aerobic and facultatively anaerobic oral microflora or in the presence of teeth or acute oral infections on day 1. The oral prevalence rates of members of the family Enterobacteriaceae were higher on days 10, 11, and 12 in the febrile episodes with septicemia when compared with those of febrile episodes without septicemia. The prevalence of a probable oral focus in septicemia was 10.5%, and the prevalence of a probable or possible oral origin in septicemia was 31.6%. The results suggest that prevention and elimination of oral infections may reduce the morbidity and perhaps even the mortality in these patients.

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