Cytomegalovirus infections in renal, heart, heart-lung and liver transplantation

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41 Scopus citations


Although infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) continue to be recognized relatively frequently after organ transplantation, a decrease in their severity has been described with the use of newer immunosuppressive regimens. In particular whereas antithymocyte globulin was associated with an increase in morbidity and mortality, the use of cyclosporin A has resulted in a decrease in the frequency of symptomatic infections. Several sources of CMV infection in transplant recipients are: immunosuppression secondary to drug therapy can result in reactivation of the latent infection present before transplantation; blood transfusion, either pretransplant red blood cell transfusion or blood required at the time of surgery can also result in transmission of CMV and primary infection; the transplanted kidney or heart, particularly in situations in which seropositive organs are transmitted into seronegative can serve as the vehicle for transmission. Recent data suggest that transmission of organ donor CMV can occur even in seropositive recipients. The clinical manifestations of CMV infection in transplant recipients range from asymptomatic or mild mononucleosis syndromes to severe infection. It is generally accepted that primary infections in patients who were seronegative before transplantation are more severe than reactivated infections. Involvement of multiple organ systems has been common, with retinitis, pneumonitis and gastrointestinal manifestations occurring most commonly. A specific CMV infection of the kidney has also been described but its manifestations are variable. The association of CMV infections with rejection remains controversial in human transplantation. Alterations in cell-mediated immune responses in transplant recipients that correlate with the severity of infection have been described. It can be shown that there are specific deficits in lymphocyte responses to cytomegalovirus antigen and/or infected cells posttransplantation and that the degree of specific immunosuppression may correlate with the clinical outcome. In addition patients with severe infection frequently have lower titers of antibody during the course of their illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number5 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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