Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease is an important cause of organ transplant-related morbidity and mortality. During the last 5 years at our institution, prophylactic ganciclovir and hyperimmune globulin have been routinely administered to lung transplant recipients whenever the donor or the recipient was CMV antibody-positive. We sought to assess the efficacy of prophylaxis on viremia, CMV disease, and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS).
Methods: A retrospective chart review of 61 consecutive lung transplants performed between recipients between January 1993 and August 1995 was performed. Fifty-six patients who survived at least 1 month were analyzed. Patients were considered at risk for CMV disease whenever pretransplant donor or recipient serology was positive.
Results: Fourteen of the 39 patients at risk (36%) had viremia while on prophylaxis. The rate of CMV disease was 13% during the first 6 months following transplantation. A donor whose CMV serology was positive appeared to increase the risk of BOS in a Cox regression model (relative risk=2.4; 95% confidence interval=0.86-6.74; p=0.0957). Neither age, CMV infection (viremia or a positive specimen from BAL), recipient's serology at the time of transplantation, or CMV disease was associated with BOS. None of these variables was associated with mortality on Cox regression analysis or univariate analysis.
Conclusions: Administration of combination ganciclovir and hyperimmune globulin prophylactic therapy to lung transplant recipients at risk for CMV infection and disease is associated with a relatively low incidence of disease, which appears only after prophylaxis treatment with ganciclovir is completed. Ganciclovir prophylaxis does not prevent CMV viremia; however, viremia while on prophylaxis is not predictive of disease.