High risk of cytomegalovirus infection following solid organ transplantation despite prophylactic therapy

Heli Harvala, Camilla Stewart, Kate Muller, Sheila Burns, Lorna Marson, Alastair MacGilchrist, Ingolfur Johannessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) in solid organ transplant recipients is a major clinical problem. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of CMV infection and its association with mortality during the first year after transplantation in a large solid organ transplant cohort at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh between January 2006 and April 2009. Data including the use of CMV prophylaxis, nature of CMV disease, treatment and deceased date (when appropriate) was collected retrospectively using hospital databases and patient notes for all transplanted patients with detectable CMV viraemia. The outcomes between recipients of kidney and liver transplants in the four CMV donor/recipient serostatus categories (D+R+, D-R-, D+R-, D-R+) were compared. A total of 428 individuals were included. Despite the administration of valganciclovir prophylaxis, CMV disease (syndrome or end-organ involvement) was diagnosed within the year of transplantation in the D+R--group in 31.3% of liver and 19.2% of kidney recipients. All D+R- transplant recipients that received CMV-prophylaxis presented with late-onset CMV disease. Furthermore, the rate of CMV disease in the D+R+-group was markedly higher in renal graft recipients compared to liver recipients (22% vs. 5%). The highest mortality was observed among the D+R+ liver and kidney graft recipients with CMV infection. The high incidence of late-onset CMV disease in D+R- transplant recipients receiving CMV prophylaxis demonstrates that CMV disease remains an important problem after organ transplantation. Furthermore, the surprisingly high mortality in the D+R+-transplant patients with CMV viraemia highlights the need for proactive monitoring of this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-8
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Chemoprevention
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections
  • Ganciclovir
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


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