Outcomes among pediatric heart transplant recipients.


Postoperative cytomegalovirus prophylaxis with cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin or ganciclovir has decreased the incidence of cytomegalovirus disease in cytomegalovirus-negative recipients of cytomegalovirus-positive donor organs. In adults, these drugs have also been used to treat recipients who developed symptomatic cytomegalovirus disease. This report describes outcomes of predominantly cytomegalovirus-negative pediatric cardiac transplant recipients of cytomegalovirus-positive donor organs who received cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin plus ganciclovir as cytomegalovirus prophylaxis, as well as results of this combination therapy when used to treat cytomegalovirus disease. We reviewed the records of children who received donor hearts at our institution between 1989 and 1994. Cytomegalovirus-negative patients who received cytomegalovirus-positive donor organs were given prophylaxis consisting of ganciclovir (5 mg/kg every 12 hours for 14 days, followed by maintenance dosage of 5 to 6 mg/kg every day for 14 days) plus 7 scheduled cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin infusions. Cytomegalovirus infection was documented by culture, polymerase chain reaction, and cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin M seroconversion of a 4-fold or greater rise in cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G titers. After infection, patients were diagnosed with cytomegalovirus disease when they developed clinical symptoms. These episodes were treated with cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin infusions plus ganciclovir (5 mg/kg every 12 hours) until symptoms resolved. Of 40 cardiac transplant recipients, 10 cytomegalovirus-negative and 9 cytomegalovirus-positive patients received cytomegalovirus-positive donor organs. Five patients (3 of whom were seronegative and had received dual-agent prophylaxis) developed cytomegalovirus disease, which resolved with dual-agent therapy. During an average 15-month follow-up period, no significant morbidity or mortality was attributable to cytomegalovirus disease. Post-transplant dual-therapy cytomegalovirus prophylaxis appears to be as safe and effective in children as in adults, when our results are compared with the published results of studies in adults. Dual-agent treatment eradicated symptoms among patients who developed cytomegalovirus disease. This regimen may allow safer use of the cytomegalovirus-positive donor pool for pediatric recipients.

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