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Am J Transplant. 2005 Dec;5(12):2982-91.

Human herpesvirus 6 in bronchalveolar lavage fluid after lung transplantation: a risk factor for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome?

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Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Pulmonary Diseases, Klinikum Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.


Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is the limiting factor to long-term survival after lung transplantation. Previous studies suggested respiratory viral tract infections are associated with the development of BOS. To identify the impact of virus detection in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, we analyzed BAL samples from 87 consecutive lung transplant recipients for human herpesvirus (HHV)-6, Epstein-Barr virus, Herpes simplex virus 1/2, Cytomegalovirus, respiratory syncytical virus and adenovirus by PCR. Acute rejection, BOS and death were recorded for a mean follow-up time of 3.27 +/- 0.47 years. Results of PCR analysis and other potential risk factors were entered into a Cox regression analysis of BOS predictors and death. Only acute rejection was a distinct risk factor for BOS of all stages, death and death from BOS. HHV-6 was detected in 20 patients. Univariate and multivariate analysis revealed that HHV-6 was associated with an increased risk to develop BOS > orb = stage 1 and death, separate from the risk attributable to acute rejection. Identification of HHV-6 DNA in BAL fluid is a potential risk factor for BOS. Our results warrant further studies to elucidate a possible causal link between HHV-6 and BOS.

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