Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common opportunistic infection following lung transplantation. CMV replication in the lung allograft is described as accelerating the development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). Finding a strategy to prevent CMV infection is an important issue.
We performed a retrospective, single-centre study of 114 lung transplant recipients (LTRs) who underwent lung transplantation from January 2001 to December 2006. In a smaller cohort of 88 CMV seropositive (R+) LTRs, three months of valganciclovir prophylaxis (2004-2006) was compared to three months of oral ganciclovir (2001-2003) with respect to the incidence of CMV infection/disease, the severity of CMV disease, acute rejection, BOS-free 4 year survival and 4 year survival. In the whole group of 114 LTRs the impact of CMV infection on long-term survival (BOS free 4 year survival and 6 year survival) was assessed.
For the cohort of 88 CMV seropositive LTRs, the incidence of CMV infection/disease at one year was lower in the valganciclovir group compared to the ganciclovir group (24% vs. 54%, p = 0.003). There was a tendency towards reduced CMV disease, from 33% to 20% and a significant lower incidence of asymptomatic CMV infection (22% vs. 4%, p = 0.005). A lower incidence of acute rejection was observed in the valganciclovir group. However, there was no significant difference between the two groups in BOS free 4 year survival and 4 year survival.
For the entire group of 114 LTRs, BOS-free 4 year survival for recipients with CMV disease was (32%, p = 0.005) and among those with asymptomatic CMV infection (36%, p = 0.061) as compared with patients without CMV infection (69%). Six year survival was lower among patients with CMV disease, (64%, p = 0.042) and asymptomatic CMV infection (55%, p = 0.018) than patients without CMV infection (84%).
A lower incidence of CMV infection/disease and acute rejections was observed with valganciclovir (3 months) when compared to oral ganciclovir (3 months). The long-term impact of CMV infection/disease was significant for BOS-free survival and survival.