Epidemiology and Outcomes of Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients at a Midwestern Center

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Nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections have the potential to affect outcomes in solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients.


Retrospective cohort of adults who underwent SOT at a Midwestern hospital between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2013. NTM-infected patients had at least 1 positive culture for NTM posttransplant. NTM disease was defined by 1) American Thoracic Society/Infectious Disease Society of America criteria for respiratory specimens or 2) NTM cultured from a sterile site with a compatible clinical syndrome. The remaining NTM infected patients were classified as colonized. Cox regression analysis was used to determine the association of NTM with mortality among lung transplant recipients.


Of 3338 SOT recipients, 50 (1.5%) had NTM infection during a median 1038 days (range, 165-3706) follow-up posttransplant. Forty-three patients (86%) with NTM infection were lung transplant recipients; 18 of 43 (41.8%) were treated for NTM and 6 (13.9%) met disease criteria. Isolation of the same species on multiple occasions was associated with treatment among the colonized lung transplant recipients (8/12 [67%] vs 3/25 [12%] who were not treated, P = 0.014). NTM infection was not associated with increased mortality in lung transplant recipients (9/43 [20.9%] in infected died versus 161/510 [31.6%] in uninfected, age-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.2-1.1; P = 0.091). Three of 6 lung transplant recipients with NTM disease died compared with 6 of 37 colonized (hazard ratio, 7.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-31.5; P = 0.003).


Among SOT patients, NTM were most frequently identified from lung transplant recipients. NTM infection was not associated with increased mortality, although NTM disease was associated with increased mortality compared with colonization in lung transplant recipients.

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