Epidemiology of COVID-19 infections in haematology patients and prognostic factors for outcome: A national, multicentre retrospective study

BJH - volume 13, issue 7, november 2022

T. Mercier MD, PhD, S. Fieuws PhD, K. Theunissen MD, M-C. Ngirabacu MD, PhD, N. Straetmans MD, PhD, C. Spilleboudt MD, D. Mazure MD, V. De Wilde MD, PhD, A. De Becker MD, D. Selleslag MD, D. Breems MD, PhD, D. Deeren , S. Servais MD, PhD, C. Jacquy MD, PhD, H. Poirel MD, PhD, D. Van Beckhoven MD, K. Blot MD, PhD, A. Janssens MD, PhD, H. Schoemans MD, PhD


In the early weeks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, little was known about the risk factors of this novel disease in haematology patients. We therefore created a national, multi-center, retrospective study via a national consortium of haematology centres in Belgium to investigate the incidence and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in haematology patients. By combining these data with data collected through the national public health institute Sciensano and the national Belgian Cancer Registry, we were able to show that haematology patients were at an increased risk of being hospitalised with COVID-19 (1 in 250 haematology patients versus 1 in 2000 in the general population). Furthermore, we found that patients with multiple myeloma and acute leukaemia were overrepresented in these hospitalisations. Mortality at 90 days was 38% during the first wave, compared to 19.3% in the general population. We therefore conclude that haematology patients with COVID-19 are at a significantly higher risk of both hospitalisation and death.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2022;13(7):269–76)

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Faster to the fungus: rapid diagnostic and prognostic tests for invasive fungal diseases

BJH - volume 12, issue 3, may 2021

T. Mercier MD, PhD, K. Lagrou PhD, PharmD, J. Maertens MD, PhD


Invasive mould infections such as invasive aspergillosis or mucormycosis remain an important infectious complication in haematology patients, especially in those undergoing intensive chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia or undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplantation. An early diagnosis and timely initiation of antifungal therapy improves outcomes. In this thesis, we therefore looked at new possible diagnostic tools to aid in a rapid diagnosis, such as lateral flow assays, PCR tests, or a novel beta-D-glucan assay. Furthermore, we explored how we could get the maximum out of existing tests such as galactomannan, by optimising their use after therapy in an effort to assess the response to therapy.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;12(3):138-40)

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Preliminary results of the BHS COVID-19 registry

BJH - 2021, issue SPECIAL, january 2021

T. Mercier MD, PhD

The global COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on all the aspects of the healthcare system and hematology departments were no exception to this. In order to get more insights into the risk for severe COVID-19 infections among patients with hematological conditions, the Belgian Hematology Society set up the BHS COVID-19 registry. During the 2021 BHS general annual meeting preliminary results of this registry were presented.

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