One hundred eighty-two patients with acute leukemia underwent allogeneic marrow transplantation and received one of two forms of infection prophylaxis: isolation and decontamination procedures in laminar air flow rooms (90 patients) or prophylactic granulocyte transfusion from a single family member (92 patients). Infection acquisition and survival were analyzed from the time of admission to 100 days posttransplant. There were 20
major local infections in the laminar air flow group and 16 in the prophylactic granulocyte group. Of the patients in the laminar air flow group, 24 (27%) had 27 episodes of bacteremia, while 23 (25%) of the prophylactic granulocyte group had 25 episodes of bacteremia. There were no significant differences in infection acquisition between the two groups during the period of granulocytopenia or after engraftment. The mortality during the first 100 days was 28% for the laminar air flow group and 35% for the prophylactic granulocyte group. Thirteen patients (14%) in the laminar air flow group and five (5%) in the prophylactic granulocyte group died with bacterial or fungal infections. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in overall incidence of or mortality from interstitial pneumonitis which was the predominant cause of death. However, the subset of patients who were seronegative for cytomegalovirus antibody at the time of transplant and received granulocytes from seropositive donors had a significantly higher incidence of and mortality from cytomegalovirus interstitial pneumonitis.