We aimed to determine the effects of treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin on bacterial infections in patients with hypogammaglobulinemia (HGG) after lung transplantation.
We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled two-period crossover trial of immune globulin intravenous (IVIG), 10% Purified (Gamunex, Bayer, Elkhart, IN) monthly in eleven adults who had undergone lung transplantation more than three months previously. We randomized study participants to three doses of IVIG (or 0.1% albumin solution (placebo)) given four weeks apart followed by a twelve week washout and then three doses of placebo (or IVIG). The primary outcome was the number of bacterial infections within each treatment period.
IVIG had no effect on the number of bacterial infections during the treatment period (3 during IVIG and 1 during placebo; odds ratio 3.5, 95% confidence interval 0.4 to 27.6, p = 0.24). There were no effects on other infections, use of antibiotics, or lung function. IVIG significantly increased trough IgG levels at all time points (least square means, 765.3 mg/dl during IVIG and 486.3 mg/dl during placebo, p<0.001). Four serious adverse events (resulting in hospitalization) occurred during the treatment periods (3 during active treatment and 1 during the placebo period, p = 0.37). Chills, flushing, and nausea occurred during one infusion of IVIG.
Treatment with IVIG did not reduce the short-term risk of bacterial infection in patients with HGG after lung transplantation. The clinical efficacy of immunoglobulin supplementation in HGG related to lung transplantation over the long term or with recurrent infections is unknown.