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BACKGROUND - Information is limited on long-term outcomes after preemptive use of ganciclovir to control cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in lung transplantation.
METHODS - We studied 78 lung recipients who received antithymocyte globulin induction from 1994 to 2000. All patients received six months of oral acyclovir (800 mg TID). This was interrupted three wk post transplantation for a two-wk course of IV ganciclovir. Additional courses of ganciclovir were administered based on serial virological monitoring. CMV-mismatched patients (R-D+) also received four doses of CMV immunoglobulin between weeks 2 and 8.
RESULTS - The one yr cumulative risk of CMV disease was 2% (1/61) in CMV seropositive (R+) patients, but was 37% (6/17) in R-D+ patients (p < 0.0001). Over 4.3 yr of follow-up, patients with CMV infection developed more chronic graft dysfunction caused by bronchiolitis obliterans or bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome than patients without CMV infection (p = 0.012). This effect was also apparent in the subgroup of R+ recipients (p = 0.043). Acute rejection and overall survival were not associated with CMV infection.
CONCLUSIONS - The use of prophylactic acyclovir and short preemptive courses of ganciclovir effectively controlled CMV disease in R+ patients, but was a relative failure in R-D+ patients. CMV infection was significantly associated with chronic graft dysfunction, even in R+ recipients who had good control of CMV symptoms.