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Br J Haematol. 2005 Jan;128(1):66-72.

Impact of human herpesvirus-6 after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Internal Medicine III, University Hospital Grosshadern, Germany.


We studied 228 consecutive stem cell transplant recipients, screened for reactivation of human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) in peripheral blood and other specimens as clinically indicated by means of qualitative polymerase chain reaction. Among them, 197 received an allograft and 31 autograft. Ninety-six of 228 patients (42.1%) showed HHV-6 reactivation in peripheral blood and 129 of 228 (56.6%) demonstrated HHV-6 in at least one of the specimens tested. 41.9% of patients were asymptomatic when HHV-6 was identified. Clinical features, noted when HHV-6 was detected, included interstitial or alveolar pneumonia, gastroduodenal and colorectal disease, bone marrow suppression and liver disease. However, based on clinical and histopathological criteria, HHV-6 was considered a causal agent in only a minority of patients, in particular, those suffering from bone marrow suppression (n = 11), gastroduodenitis (five), colitis (three), interstitial/alveolar pneumonia (five), skin rash (one), pericarditis (two) and encephalitis (one). HHV-6 reactivation was significantly associated with the occurrence of graft-versus-host disease [odds ratio (OR) 5.31], Epstein-Barr virus coinfection (OR 8.89) and unrelated donor transplantation (OR 5.67) indicating an increased stage of immunosuppression.

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