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J Infect Dis. 2002 Apr 1;185(7):854-60. Epub 2002 Mar 19.

Preemptive use of oral ganciclovir to prevent cytomegalovirus infection in liver transplant patients: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


The use of postdetection antiviral treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) as a strategy to prevent infection and disease in solid-organ transplant patients has not been evaluated by placebo-controlled trials. We carried out such a study in 69 patients who had received liver transplants and had positive results of CMV polymerase chain reaction within 8 weeks after transplantation but did not have concomitant CMV infection or disease. These patients were randomly assigned to receive placebo or oral ganciclovir for 8 weeks. CMV infection developed in 21% and disease developed in 12% of placebo recipients (P =.022), compared with 3% and 0%, respectively, among ganciclovir recipients (P =.003). Similarly, in the placebo arm, 55% and 36% of CMV-negative patients who received organs from CMV-positive donors developed CMV infection or disease, respectively (P =.02), compared with 11% and 0% of such patients in the ganciclovir arm (P <.01). Oral ganciclovir administered on CMV detection by PCR prevents CMV infection or disease after liver transplantation.

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