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Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jan 15;42(2):195-203. Epub 2005 Dec 12.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococcal colonization and infection in liver transplant candidates and recipients: a prospective surveillance study.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



Vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infections cause significant morbidity and mortality among patients undergoing liver transplantation. We performed a prospective study among patients awaiting transplantation to assess rates, risk factors, and outcomes associated with VRE colonization before and after transplantation.


All adults on the transplantation waiting list from 2000-2003 were eligible. Demographic, historical, and laboratory data, as well as stool samples to be analyzed for VRE, were collected at enrollment and every 4-6 months thereafter until transplantation. After transplantation, samples were obtained every 3 days during hospitalization and were analyzed for VRE; outcomes were assessed at 90 days.


Overall, 375 patients were enrolled in our study, and 142 received transplants. VRE colonization occurred in 50 (13%) of 375 patients before transplantation and was independently associated with treatment with antianaerobic antimicrobials, third-generation cephalosporins, proton pump inhibitors, or neomycin; having a recent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram or paracentesis procedure; and admission to the liver unit. Of these 50 patients, 22 (44%) received a transplant, and 7 (32%) of 22 developed a VRE infection after transplantation. An additional 22 patients (18%) who were not colonized before transplantation acquired VRE after transplantation; VRE infection developed in 5 (23%) of these patients. Patients colonized with VRE either before or after transplantation had longer stays in the intensive care unit and the hospital. Mortality at 90 days was significantly greater among those who acquired VRE after transplantation (5 [23%] of 22), compared with those who had VRE colonization before transplantation (2 [9%] of 22).


Liver transplantation candidates with VRE colonization before transplantation experience greater morbidity but not greater mortality, compared with noncolonized candidates. Transplant recipients who acquire VRE after transplantation have a higher mortality rate than noncolonized recipients. Strategies should be implemented to reduce nosocomial VRE acquisition after transplantation among this vulnerable group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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