Acute rejection episodes in pediatric renal transplant recipients with cytomegalovirus infection

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CMV infection is the most important opportunistic virus infection after renal transplantation leading to increased patient mortality, graft loss, risk for acute rejection episodes and impaired renal function. The potential impact of prophylactic anti-viral therapy on long-term graft outcome is relevant. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of CMV infection, its risk factors and long-term outcome in children after renal transplantation. 103 children (mean age 10.6 ± 5.3, range 1.6–22.0 yr) were monitored weekly for pp65 for the first 6–8 wk after renal transplantation, followed by a monthly monitoring for the first year. CMV infection occurred in 23/103 children (21.1%) with 10 patients (9.7%) developing CMV disease characterized by positive pp65 in the presence of organ involvement. The CMV R−/D+ and R+/D+ serostatus was significantly associated with an increased risk of CMV infection (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.009). 14/28 R−/D+ patients developed CMV infection despite prophylactic treatment with CMV hyperimmune globulin. The incidence of acute rejection episodes after or during CMV infection was significantly increased (p = 0.003) and the D+ serostatus was significantly associated with acute rejection episodes within the first year after transplantation (p = 0.006). In summary the overall incidence of CMV infection in this single center experience is 21.1%. The D+ serostatus represents a serious risk factor for both CMV infection and acute rejection episodes. In future the potential impact of different modalities of prophylactic anti-viral therapy on the prevention of acute rejection should be considered.

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