Recurrence of CMV Infection and the Effect of Prolonged Antivirals in Organ Transplant Recipients

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Abstract

Background

Although initial therapy for cytomegalovirus (CMV) is usually successful, a significant subset of patients may have recurrent viremia. However, the epidemiology and risk factors for recurrence have not been fully defined, as well as the utility of prolonged antivirals after initial clearance.

Methods

Solid organ transplant patients with first episode of CMV disease or asymptomatic viremia (≥1000 IU/mL) requiring treatment were identified by chart review. Clinical and virologic data were collected. The primary outcome was recurrence of CMV viremia or disease within 6 months of treatment discontinuation.

Results

The first episode of CMV viremia requiring antiviral therapy was assessed in 282 patients (147 CMV disease and 135 asymptomatic viremia). Cytomegalovirus occurred at 5.6 (0.63-27.7) months posttransplant. Recurrent CMV occurred in 30.5% patients at a median of 51 (0-160) days after discontinuation of therapy. Factors predictive of recurrence were treatment phase viral kinetics (P = 0.005), lung transplant (P = 0.002), CMV donor (D)+/recipient (R)− serostatus(P = 0.04) and recent acute rejection(P = 0.02). Prolonged antiviral therapy was given to 226 (80.1%) of 282 patients. Recurrence occurred in 73 (32.3%) of 226 patients that received prolonged antivirals versus 13 (23.2%) of 56 in those with no prolonged antivirals (P = 0.19).

Conclusions

Recurrent CMV occurs in a significant percentage of patients after treatment of the first episode of CMV viremia/disease. CMV D+/R− serostatus, lung transplant, and treatment phase viral kinetics were significant predictors of recurrence. Continuation of prolonged antivirals beyond initial clearance was not associated with a reduced risk of recurrence.

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