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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2002 Dec;21(12):1274-82.

Emergence of ganciclovir-resistant cytomegalovirus in lung transplant recipients.

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Lung Transplant Program, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 South First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.



Since ganciclovir-resistant cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease was initially described in a patient with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 1986, the incidence of ganciclovir-resistant CMV disease appears to be increasing in immunocompromised patients. More recently, there have been sporadic reports of ganciclovir-resistant CMV disease in solid organ transplantation.


We retrospectively assessed the incidence of ganciclovir-resistant CMV disease in all lung transplant recipients transplanted between 6/93 and 6/01 at Loyola University Medical Center. All patients underwent routine CMV blood culture, shell vial assay as well as phenotypic and genotypic anti-viral susceptibility testing according to a pre-determined schedule. The number of CMV episodes, intravenous ganciclovir use, acute and chronic rejection and survival data were documented for all patients.


Twelve of 212 (6%) transplant recipients developed ganciclovir-resistant CMV disease. Ganciclovir resistance was associated with a higher number of CMV episodes (3.4 +/- 2.3 episodes/patient vs 1.7 +/- 0.7 episodes/patient [p < 0.05]) and an increased exposure to cumulative intravenous ganciclovir in the primary CMV-mismatched (D(+)R(-)) population (22 +/- 10 vs 13 +/- 7 days [p < 0.05]) compared with patients who did not develop ganciclovir resistance. In addition, the use of daclizumab therapy was associated with a 7-fold greater likelihood of developing ganciclovir resistance (p < 0.0001). The presence of ganciclovir-resistant CMV disease in our population was associated with a decreased survival that could be attributed to CMV disease itself (p < 0.05).


By screening all lung transplant recipients with CMV disease for ganciclovir resistance, we were able to detect a higher incidence of ganciclovir-resistant CMV disease (6%) than previously seen in solid organ transplantation. High-risk patients (D(+)R(-) CMV serostatus) who receive anti-lymphocytic therapy should be monitored aggressively and treated to prevent the development of ganciclovir resistance and avert a negative outcome.

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