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Transpl Infect Dis. 2014 Dec;16(6):871-7. doi: 10.1111/tid.12288. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

A cross-sectional study of tetanus and diphtheria antibody concentrations post vaccination among lung transplant patients compared with healthy individuals.

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  • 1School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.



Lung transplant (LuTx) patients are routinely immunized against tetanus and diphtheria. However, few studies have been done to measure serologic immunity in the transplant population.


The primary objective of this study was to compare tetanus and diphtheria antibody concentrations in LuTx vs. healthy subjects.


Serum was used from an available sample of 111 total individuals (n = 36 healthy; n = 75 LuTx). Tetanus and diphtheria antibody concentrations were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay method.


A statistically significant difference in both tetanus and diphtheria antibody concentrations was found between the groups. The median concentration of tetanus antibody was higher for healthy individuals compared with the LuTx group (3.2 IU/mL [1.2-5.2 interquartile range {IQR}] vs. 1.3 IU/mL [0.4-2.6 IQR], respectively; P = 0.0001). No difference in time was found since the last tetanus-diphtheria vaccine or tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine dose between the groups (healthy 76.5 months [16-114 IQR] vs. LuTx 74.5 months [45-118 IQR]; P = 0.44).


Tetanus and diphtheria immunizations are recommended for LuTx patients to reduce the risk of infection. Because the LuTx group has lower antibody concentrations, further studies should investigate the possible need for more frequent tetanus and diphtheria boosters.

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


antibody response; diphtheria vaccine; lung transplantation; seroprotection; tetanus vaccine

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