BACKGROUND: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection represents one of the most frequent opportunistic infections following solid-organ transplantation. The incidence and severity of CMV infection depend on the immunosuppressive regimen, the CMV serostatus of donor and recipient, and the type of transplant.
METHODS: We evaluated CMV infection rates during the last 2 years in our center: March 2007 to March 2009. We enrolled 55 patients-13 females and 42 males-who underwent liver transplantation (OLT) due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis (n = 9), hepatitis B virus (HBV) cirrhosis (n = 5) HCC both on HCV and HBV cirrhosis (n = 37), or autoimmune disease (n = 4). Fifty percent of the patients received tacrolimus (TRL) and the others cyclosporine (CsA), both dosed according to weight. All patients received oral acyclovir (400 mg/td or less, adapted to renal function) as herpes simplex prophylaxis for 6 months. CMV prophylaxis prescribed CMV- hyperimmunoglobulin on postoperative days 1 and 7. CMV infection was monitored using polymerase chain reaction (PCR <1000 IU/mL) according to the following schedule: every week for the first month, every 2 weeks from month 2 to 3 and monthly from month 4 to 6. Patients were treated when three positive PCR results not affected by immunosuppressive dose reduction or when the PCR showed DNA greater than three times the limit of detection. CMV treatment stipulated valgancyclovir (900 mg twice daily) until three consecutive PCRs were negative or for 3 months dosed according to renal function. PCR was measured every 2 weeks during treatment.
RESULTS: Among the patients who were all D(+)/R(+) (CMV-Immunoglobulin G [IgG](+)/IgG(+)). 10 required treatment (18%) within 3 months from OLT. There subjects were prescribed TRL (n = 4) or CsA (n = 6). No renal impairment was observed among treated patients. Of those having the infection, one died due to other causes-sepsis from candida at 5 months after OLT.
CONCLUSION: CMV-hyperimmunoglobulin on postoperative days 1 and 7 did not confer protection for CMV among OLT patients. Preemptive treatment with intravenous gancyclovir plus valgancyclovir per os seemed to be useful and safe in infected patients requiring treatment.