PURPOSE: Herpes Zoster infection is a common complication affecting lung transplant recipients. Few studies however, have been published with conflicting results.We determined the incidence and clinical characteristics of herpes zoster after lung transplantation.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all adult lung transplants performed at our institution between January 2001 and December 2007. Clinical characteristics of herpes zoster and potential risk factors associated with herpes zoster were assessed.
RESULTS: One hundred ninety eight lung transplant recipients were included in the analysis. Median time of follow-up was 34 months (range 1 to 85 months). Twenty three episodes of herpes zoster occurred in 23 patients. Four of the 23 (17%) patients had disseminated cutaneous infection and one had visceral involvement. No recurrence of herpes zoster was seen. Post-herpetic neuralgia was detected in 26% of cases. Anti-viral prophylaxis, primarily for cytomegalovirus (CMV), was protective (while on prophylaxis) against herpes zoster. After treatment with RATG there was an increase in the incidence of HZ.
CONCLUSION: Herpes Zoster is a common complication after lung transplantation with a peak incidence between 12 and 36 months post-transplant. Preventive strategies would be beneficial for this population.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: HZ is a common complication observed late after lung transplant. The option of continuous therapy in lung transplant recipient with acyclovir to prevent HZ should be studied in a large prospective trial.
DISCLOSURE: Leonardo Fuks, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information