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Transplant Proc. 2012 Nov;44(9):2660-2. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2012.09.035.

Cumulative incidence of cytomegalovirus infection and disease after heart transplantation in the last decade: effect of preemptive therapy.

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Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Unit, Hospital Universitario A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain.



Infection by cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a major concern in solid organ transplant (SOT). It increases morbidity and mortality. The prevalence of CMV asymptomatic infection and disease is variable among centers, partially related to immunosuppressive protocols and therapeutic strategies to treat CMV. Induction therapy with basiliximab is associated with fewer CMV infections than therapy with OKT3. In our center, universal prophylaxis is used in the first month post-heart transplant (HT) and preemptive therapy (PET) is used later, according to viral load monitoring.


To analyze the short- and long-term incidence of CMV infection and disease post-HT according to CMV status of recipient (R)/donor (D) in a cohort of patients who received induction therapy with basiliximab.


Retrospective analysis of 201 consecutive patients over 18 years of age who underwent HT between February 2001 (when induction therapy with basiliximab was initiated) and June 2011. Patients were divided in two risk subgroups of developing CMV disease: high-risk (D+/R- or D-/R- who received blood transfusions or R-, or donor with unknown serostatus) and low-risk (any other combination).


Of 201 patients (mean age 53.81 ± 11.61 years, 81.1% men). 165 patients were classified in the low-risk and 36 in the high-risk group. The cumulative incidence of asymptomatic CMV infection during the first year post-HT was 47%: 46% in the low-risk and 50% in the high-risk group (P = .668). The incidence of CMV disease during the first year post-HT was 7.5%: 3.6% in the low-risk versus 25% in the high-risk group (P < .001).


In our series, asymptomatic CMV infection after HT is frequent, affecting almost 50% of patients. However, the incidence of CMV disease is very low (7.5%), which confirms the effectiveness of PET. The higher incidence of disease in the high-risk group recommends closer monitoring of viral load in these patients or performing more prolonged universal prophylaxis.

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