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Transplantation. 2006 Feb 15;81(3):384-91.

Bloodstream infections among heart transplant recipients.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Microbiology-Infectious Diseases, Hospital General Universitario "Gregorio Marañón," Madrid, Spain.



Heart transplant (HT) recipients are prone to life-threatening infections, including bloodstream infection (BSI), but information on this topic is particularly scarce.


We studied 309 consecutive HT performed at our institution between 1988 and 2003. We assessed the characteristics of each episode of BSI, prophylaxis and immunosuppression used, and possible related factors.


Sixty episodes of BSI occurred in 15.8% of all HT recipients. Rates of BSI/transplanted patient decreased progressively throughout the study period: 21.2%, 14.3%, and 7.5% in each 5-year period (P=0.03). BSI episodes occurred a median of 51 days after transplantation. The main BSI origins were: lower respiratory tract (23%), urinary tract (20%), and catheter-related-BSI (16%). Gram-negative organisms predominated (55.3%), followed by Gram-positive (44.6%). Mortality was 59.2%, with 12.2% directly attributable to BSI. Independent risk factors for BSI after HT were: hemodialysis (OR 6.5; 95% CI 3.2-13), prolonged intensive care unit stay (OR 3.6; 95% CI 1.6-8.1), and viral infection (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.1-4). BSI was a risk factor for mortality (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.2-2.8).


BSIs have decreased in HT recipients, but still contribute to mortality, mainly if related to pneumonia or polymicrobial infections. Reduction of early postoperative complications and viral infections are amenable goals that may further reduce BSI in this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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