Fatal Pneumonia Caused by Panton-Valentine Leucocidine-Positive Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (PVL-MRSA) Transmitted from a Healthy Donor in Living-Donor Liver Transplantation

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Severe infections are the most dangerous complications in liver transplantation and their prevention is one of the major goals. A 60-year-old Saudi-Arabian female with decompensated hepatitis C liver cirrhosis received a right-lobe liver graft from her healthy daughter. After 9 days, the patient developed a rapidly progressive necrotizing pneumonia that was fatal in spite of extracorporal lung assist. The pneumonia was due to a Panton-Valentine Leucocidine-positive (PVL) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), or “community-acquired” MRSA, that had not been detectable in the patient preoperatively. The same strain of PVL-MRSA could be demonstrated in the nares of the asymptomatic donor, but not of other relatives, patients, or medical staff. These findings strongly suggest transmission of PVL-MRSA from the donor to the recipient. This case demonstrates a previously unknown, and potentially fatal, risk in living-donor liver transplantation: transmission of a severe infection from a healthy donor to the recipient.

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