Universal Prophylaxis or Preemptive Strategy for Cytomegalovirus Disease After Liver Transplantation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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We systematically reviewed and meta-analyze the efficacy of universal prophylaxis (UP) and preemptive (PE) strategies (using ganciclovir or valganciclovir) in preventing cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease (CMD) among liver transplant recipients (LTRs). We performed an electronic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Database till December 2013. Studies that assessed UP or PE for preventing CMD in LTRs were included. The risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle–Ottawa scale. The primary outcome was CMD, secondary outcomes being acute cellular rejection (ACR), graft loss (GL) and mortality. Due to the heterogeneity of comparative studies, an indirect comparison was performed. Pooled incidence rates with 95% confidence interval (CI) are calculated for each outcome using a random-effects model. Thirty-two studies involving 2456 LTRs were included. The majority of the studies were of low risk of bias. Irrespective of donor/recipient CMV sero-status, CMD was 10% with UP (95% CI: 6–14; I2 = 87%; 16 studies, n = 1581) and 7% with PE (95% CI: 3–10; I2 = 84%; 16 studies, n = 875) (mean difference 2.6; 95% CI: −3.25 to 8.45, p = 0.34). Likewise, ACR and mortality were similar with the two strategies. However, GL was significantly lower in the UP group, regardless of donor/recipient sero-status. In indirect comparison, the incidence of CMD, ACR and mortality in LTRs were similar with two strategies. Trials comparing the two strategies directly are needed.

This meta-analysis of liver transplant recipients shows similar rates of CMV disease, acute rejection, and mortality among universal prophylaxis and preemptive strategies.

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