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J Heart Lung Transplant. 1998 Feb;17(2):202-10.

Respiratory syncytial virus-associated infections in adult recipients of solid organ transplants.

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Lung Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.



Although respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is known to cause severe pulmonary infections in bone marrow transplant recipients, less is known concerning its clinical course, diagnosis, and treatment in solid organ transplant recipients.


We have conducted a retrospective review of seven cases of RSV infection in adult recipients of solid organ transplants. Four patients received lungs, two received kidneys, and one received a heart.


The most common presenting complaints were dyspnea (100%), cough (86%), and purulent sputum (57%). Physical findings included fever (43%), rales (100%), and wheezing (29%). Admission studies were significant for leukocytosis (29%), a left shift in the white blood cell differential (86%), and hypoxemia (mean PaO2 = 64). Chest radiographs were unchanged in 29% and showed infiltrates that were bilateral in 43% and unilateral in 29%. Pulmonary function tests in lung transplant recipients showed a mean fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 second of 26% and a fall in diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide of 24%. Five patients were treated with aerosolized ribavirin. Adverse events associated with treatment included wheezing (80%) and mild dyspnea (20%). The conditions of three of five treated patients were believed by their physicians to have improved 7 days after the initiation of therapy. One of the five treated patients died, and both untreated patients survived.


RSV infection in this population has an extremely variable severity and clinical course, usually dominated by lower respiratory symptoms and obstructive airway disease. Ribavirin therapy is well tolerated, but its efficacy remains unknown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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