BACKGROUND - Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a frequent complication of lung transplantation. However, there is limited information regarding the incidence and sequelae of CMV infections in pediatric lung-transplant recipients. On the basis of case series suggesting that CMV infection was associated with excess morbidity and mortality in lung-transplant recipients, we hypothesize that CMV viremia increases the risk of bronchiolitis obliterans (BOS) or death and retransplantation in the first year following transplantation.
METHODS - A case-cohort study of pediatric primary lung-transplant recipients was performed. Univariate analysis was used to assess whether CMV viremia was associated with BOS or death and retransplantation within 1 year after transplantation. Patients at high risk for CMV infection received ganciclovir prophylaxis for 42 days posttransplantation.
RESULTS - From July 1990 to November 2000, 194 pediatric patients received primary lung transplants. Twenty-three percent of patients developed CMV viremia. Eighty percent of CMV viremia episodes occurred before 120 days posttransplant. A first episode of CMV viremia was associated with retransplantation or death between days 90 and 365 (RR=4.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-14.5) and was not associated with BOS (RR=1.3, 95% CI 0.5-3.3).
CONCLUSIONS - CMV viremia in the first year after pediatric primary lung transplantation is associated with increased risk of death or retransplantation between 90 and 365 days posttransplant, when CMV prophylaxis has stopped. A phase II pilot trial is warranted to assess safety and short-term efficacy of increasing the duration of CMV prophylaxis from 42 to 120 days.