Purpose of review
Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in patients with hematological malignancies are frequent, but dedicated epidemiological studies are limited. The aim of this review is to provide updated description of the main etiological agents, differential diagnosis, and treatment.
In addition to common causes of bacterial skin infections in any kind of patients, such as streptococci and staphylococci (the letter frequently resistant to methicillin), Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a frequent agent in patients with hematological malignancies, with high virulence and typical infection presenting as ecthyma gangrenosum. Among fungi, fusariosis is the mold infection most frequently associated with skin lesions, although other molds and yeasts (including Candida tropicalis) should be also considered. External infections associated with central venous catheters are frequent in the hematological setting, and in addition to staphylococci, Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and even rapid growing nontuberculous mycobacteria should be considered. Immunodeficiency might either blunt the typical inflammatory response and make sign or symptoms less evident, or predispose the patients to rapid progression of skin infection to subcutaneous tissues or dissemination.
SSTIs in hematology patients can be caused by various infectious agents resulting in similar clinical presentation. Rapid and accurate diagnosis is fundamental in order to reduce morbidity and mortality.