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Open Access Research article

Lower incidence of CMV infection and acute rejections with valganciclovir prophylaxis in lung transplant recipients

Inger Johansson1*, Gunnar Mårtensson2, Ulla Nyström3, Salmir Nasic4 and Rune Andersson1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

3 Transplant Institute, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden

4 Research and Development Centre, Skaraborg Hospital, Skövde, Sweden

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:582  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-582

Published: 10 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common opportunistic infection following lung transplantation. CMV replication in the lung allograft is described as accelerating the development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). Finding a strategy to prevent CMV infection is an important issue.

Methods

We performed a retrospective, single-centre study of 114 lung transplant recipients (LTRs) who underwent lung transplantation from January 2001 to December 2006. In a smaller cohort of 88 CMV seropositive (R+) LTRs, three months of valganciclovir prophylaxis (2004-2006) was compared to three months of oral ganciclovir (2001-2003) with respect to the incidence of CMV infection/disease, the severity of CMV disease, acute rejection, BOS-free 4 year survival and 4 year survival. In the whole group of 114 LTRs the impact of CMV infection on long-term survival (BOS free 4 year survival and 6 year survival) was assessed.

Results

For the cohort of 88 CMV seropositive LTRs, the incidence of CMV infection/disease at one year was lower in the valganciclovir group compared to the ganciclovir group (24% vs. 54%, p = 0.003). There was a tendency towards reduced CMV disease, from 33% to 20% and a significant lower incidence of asymptomatic CMV infection (22% vs. 4%, p = 0.005). A lower incidence of acute rejection was observed in the valganciclovir group. However, there was no significant difference between the two groups in BOS free 4 year survival and 4 year survival.

For the entire group of 114 LTRs, BOS-free 4 year survival for recipients with CMV disease was (32%, p = 0.005) and among those with asymptomatic CMV infection (36%, p = 0.061) as compared with patients without CMV infection (69%). Six year survival was lower among patients with CMV disease, (64%, p = 0.042) and asymptomatic CMV infection (55%, p = 0.018) than patients without CMV infection (84%).

Conclusions

A lower incidence of CMV infection/disease and acute rejections was observed with valganciclovir (3 months) when compared to oral ganciclovir (3 months). The long-term impact of CMV infection/disease was significant for BOS-free survival and survival.

Keywords:
Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome; Cytomegalovirus; Ganciclovir; Lung transplantation; Survival rates; Valganciclovir