Nontuberculous mycobacterial infection in hematopoietic stem cell and solid organ transplant recipients

Clin Infect Dis. 2004 May 15;38(10):1428-39. doi: 10.1086/420746. Epub 2004 Apr 30.


Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous environmental organisms. In immunocompetent hosts, they are a rare cause of disease. In immunocompromised hosts, disease due to NTM is well documented. Reports of NTM disease have increased in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) and solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients. This increase may reflect increased numbers of transplants, intensification of immune suppressive regimens, prolonged survival of transplant recipients, and/or improved diagnostic techniques. The difficulty of diagnosis and the impact associated with infections due to NTM in HSCT and SOT recipients necessitates that, to ensure prompt diagnosis and early initiation of therapy, a high level of suspicion for NTM disease be maintained. The most common manifestations of NTM infection in SOT recipients include cutaneous and pleuropulmonary disease, and, in HSCT recipients, catheter-related infection. Skin and pulmonary lesions should be biopsied for histologic examination, special staining, and microbiologic cultures, including cultures for bacteria, Nocardia species, fungi, and mycobacteria. Mycobacterial infections associated with catheters may be documented by tunnel or blood (isolator) cultures. Susceptibility testing of mycobacterial isolates is an essential component of optimal care. The frequent isolation of NTM other than Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) from transplant recipients limits the extrapolation of therapeutic data from human immunodeficiency virus-infected individuals to the population of transplant recipients. Issues involved in the management of NTM disease in transplant recipients are characterized by a case of disseminated infection due to Mycobacterium avium complex in a lung transplant recipient, with a review of the relevant literature.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / diagnosis*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / therapy
  • Mycobacterium avium Complex*
  • Prognosis
  • Transplantation*