A recently published study indicates that oral infections seem to have no association with the risk of stem cell transplantation patients dying of or getting a serious infection within six months of the procedure.
A study collaboratively conducted by the University of Helsinki, the Helsinki University Hospital, the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel investigated whether oral infections are associated with the mortality rate and infectious complications post-stem cell transplantation.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is used to treat cancers as well as severe blood and autoimmune diseases. Due to the long period of recovery for the immune system after a stem cell transplantation procedure, the patients have a heightened risk of infection.
The study, published in the PLOS ONE journal, involved patients treated at the University Hospital Basel, of whom 341 had received an allogeneic stem cell transplantation and 125 an autologous stem cell transplantation. The procedures were carried out between 2008 and 2016.
Before carrying out the transplantation procedure, all patients underwent a clinical and radiological dental examination to identify any potential foci of infection as well as the number of missing and filled teeth.
A total of 51 stem cell transplant patients died within six months of the procedure. The foci of infection, the number of missing or filled teeth and the cases of periodontitis identified in the examinations completed before the transplantation were not associated with the survival of patients.
Furthermore, the oral foci of infection and oral infections were not associated with infections requiring hospitalization or bacteremia identified by blood culture occurring within six months of the transplantation.
"Contrary to our assumptions, untreated oral infections had no connection with post-stem cell transplantation survival during the six-month follow-up period. Another surprise was that they had no link with any serious infectious complications occurring during the follow-up period," Professor Tuomas Waltimo, who headed the study, sums up. Dental infections always require treatment - Cooperation between physicians and dentists essential
Most likely, the long-term and broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy administered during treatment was, in this study, able to prevent the spread of chronic infections of dental origin. However, Waltimo stresses that the antibiotic resistance level of oral microbes must be monitored, and dental infections should always be treated as soon as possible, either conservatively or surgically. Related Stories
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