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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2000 Aug;19(8):731-5.

Prevention and treatment of cytomegalovirus disease in heart transplant patients.

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Chief of Surgical and Transplant Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) remains the most important infection affecting heart-transplant recipients. Treatment of clinical disease is with a two to three-week course of intravenous ganciclovir, which is effective in more than 90% of individuals. However, relapsing disease, particularly in those with primary infection, is an increasing problem, occasionally with the development of ganciclovir-resistant infection. In those instances, foscarnet is needed, despite its nephro- and neurotoxicities. Increasingly, in order to prevent relapse, more prolonged oral courses of anti-viral therapy are being added to the standard two to three-week course of intravenous treatment. In the prevention of CMV disease, those at risk of primary disease (donor seropositive, recipient seronegative) should receive prophylaxis; for seropositive transplant patients, preemptive strategies linked to immunosuppression or viremia monitoring are becoming increasingly prevalent. In the future, as new drugs become available, the essential question will be whether chronic allograft injury (i.e., accelerated coronary artery atherosclerosis) can be prevented with an anti-viral strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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