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Managing Oncology Neutropenia and Sepsis in the Intensive Care Unit

Vioral, Anna N. PhD, MEd, RN, OCN, BMTCN; Wentley, Dawn MSN, CRNP

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000058
Original Articles

Neutropenic sepsis results as a post–cancer treatment complications and is considered an oncologic emergency. Neutropenic sepsis can result in mortality, especially if it is not identified at an early stage. Septic syndrome is the leading cause of nonrelapse mortality in patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. Therefore, intensive care unit (ICU) nurses must possess a thorough understanding of cancer treatments, hematopoiesis, neutropenia, sepsis, risk factors, and the ability to perform a comprehensive assessment of the oncology patient. Each of these components plays a vital role in the patient's overall management following treatments with chemotherapy, radiation, and stem cell transplantation. The ICU nurse who encompasses this understanding will be able to identify neutropenic sepsis in a timely manner. The early identification of neutropenic sepsis will enable the ICU nurse to expeditiously implement preventive treatment and management to prevent mortality.

Allegheny Health Network, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Vioral); and Allegheny Health Network–West Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Ms Wentley).

Correspondence: Dawn Wentley, MSN, CRNP, Allegheny Health Network–West Penn Hospital, 4800 Friendship Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 (

This article would not have been possible without the support and dedication of the oncology service line at the Allegheny Health Network.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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