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Transplantation. 2004 Mar 27;77(6):890-7.

Comparison of combined prophylaxis of cytomegalovirus hyperimmune globulin plus ganciclovir versus cytomegalovirus hyperimmune globulin alone in high-risk heart transplant recipients.

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Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck Austria.



Seronegative heart transplant recipients who receive an allograft from seropositive donors have a higher risk of developing cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease and cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) and dysfunction. Neither CMV-specific hyperimmune globulin nor ganciclovir as sole CMV prophylaxis is sufficient to prevent CMV disease in high-risk patients. We retrospectively evaluated the efficacy of CMV-hyperimmune globulin with and without ganciclovir in 207 D+/R- heart transplant recipients.


The study population was divided into two groups: Group A was composed of 96 patients who received CMV hyperimmune globulin as sole CMV prophylaxis, and group B was composed of 111 patients who received combined CMV prophylaxis. All recipients were subjected to quadruple cytolytic immunosuppression. Primary and secondary end points included prevention of CMV-associated death, CMV disease and productive infection, CAV, and overall infection.


There was no difference in overall survival between the two groups. Four patients in the group A died of CMV sepsis, whereas no CMV-associated death was observed in group B (P =0.0326). The actuarial incidence of CMV disease was significantly lower in patients who received double CMV prophylaxis (32.29 vs. 11.71, P =0.0003). Although no difference was observed with regard to productive CMV infection (53.12 vs. 65.77, P =not significant), CAV and overall infection rates were significantly higher in the first group (7.29 vs. 0.9, P =0.0157 and 70.83 vs. 62.16, P =0.03, respectively).


Double CMV prophylaxis consisting of CMV hyperimmune globulin and ganciclovir is able to abolish CMV death and prevent CMV disease in high-risk heart transplant recipients. Therefore, the use of a combination regimen is recommended for seronegative recipients with seropositive donors.

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