Clinical Presentation, Prognostic Factors, and Outcome in Neutropenic Enteropathy of Childhood Leukemia

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Abstract

Leukemia patients are at risk for neutropenic enteropathy (NEP) because of the effects of intensified chemotherapy. Medical records of 18 patients having 20 episodes of NEP were reviewed retrospectively. Primary diagnosis was acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 12 and myeloblastic leukemia in 6 cases. According to prognosis, 3 patients were in the standard-risk group, 6 in the moderate-risk group, and 9 in the high-risk group. Ultrasonography detected increased bowel wall thickness in 6 patients. Abdominal x-ray revealed air-fluid levels (n=8), pneumatosis intestinalis, pneumoperitoneum (n=1), and portal venous gas (n=1). All patients received medical treatment, and 1 with unrelieved hematochezia required resection of the cecum. Two cases with appendicitis and another 1 with pneumoperitoneum responded to antibiotics and recovered without surgery. The mortality rate was 30% and related to sepsis-induced complications. The presence of hypokalemia, hypoalbuminemia, metabolic acidosis, and admission to the intensive care unit were more common in patients with mortality (P=0.01). In conclusion, NEP should be kept in mind as a treatable but potentially lethal complication of childhood leukemia. Radiologic findings should be interpreted in conjunction with clinical picture. A conservative approach should be used in all cases but surgery can be considered in some situations.

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