The role of early colonoscopy in CMV colitis of transplant recipients

Transplant Proc. 2005 Sep;37(7):3059-60. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2005.07.013.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-associated diseases remain a major problem in transplant recipients. Early diagnosis is critical. Presentation of early CMV colitis can be mild and nonspecific in transplant recipients. Although serology is helpful in the diagnosis, sometimes it is inadequate. Because the endoscopic features of CMV colitis are specific, colonoscopy facilitates the histopathologic examination. We present the clinical properties and advantages of early colonoscopy in transplant recipients with CMV colitis. The study group included seven patients (six men, one woman of mean age, 36.7 years (range, 22 to 64 years) whose mean transplant duration was 12.3 months (range, 1 to 72 months). Six of the seven patients experienced an acute graft rejection treated with high doses of steroids; one patient had a herpes simplex virus infection. All patients were on steroid treatment with a various combinations of immunosuppressive agents, including cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil, and tacrolimus. All patients presented with mild diarrhea without any blood or mucous discharge. Four patients had fever exceeding 38 degrees C; two had abdominal pain. Stool examinations revealed normal findings in six patients, while one patient had white blood cells and amoebic cysts. Serum CMV IgM and CMV pp65 antigenemia were negative in five of seven patients and two had positive results. All patients showed typical colonoscopic and histopathologic findings compatible with CMV colitis. Standard ganciclovir treatment was successful in all patients. Early and rapid colonoscopy is beneficial for the early diagnosis and management of CMV colitis in transplant recipients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Colitis / diagnosis
  • Colitis / virology*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin M