Heart allograft involvement with Epstein-Barr virus-associated posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1992 Jan;116(1):93-5.


We describe a 60-year-old man who underwent heart transplant and died 5 months later. At autopsy, the patient was found to have posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD), which was not suspected ante mortem. The PTLD involved the lung, lymph nodes, spleen, and kidney and the intima of right coronary artery of the transplanted heart. Epstein-Barr virus infection was demonstrated on direct gel and dot blot after polymerase chain reaction amplification. In situ hybridization for Epstein-Barr virus DNA confirmed the presence of Epstein-Barr virus-infected lymphocytes in the intima of the right coronary artery of the cardiac allograft. To our knowledge, this case represents the first report of involvement of a heart allograft by PTLD in which Epstein-Barr virus infection of the atypical cells is documented. Although primary allograft involvement by PTLD has rarely been reported in heart transplant recipients, recognition that this may occur is important, since the lymphoid infiltrate of PTLD must be distinguished from the lymphoid infiltrate of acute rejection to avoid inappropriate therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / etiology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Tumor Virus Infections / complications*


  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Viral