In 45 liver transplant recipients, the value of weekly monitoring of cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigenemia for early diagnosis of active CMV infection was compared with serology and rapid viral isolation. Active CMV infection occurred in 23 patients. The sensitivities of the antigenemia assay and serology (of blood) and rapid viral isolation (from blood or urine) were 96%, 96%, 57%, and 70%, respectively. First diagnostic results of these methods were obtained a median of 25, 36, 31, and 49 days, respectively, after transplant. CMV infection was symptomatic in 20 patients; antigenemia was present at the onset of disease in 13 of these. Maximum CMV antigenemia levels were higher in patients with severe disease than in those with mild or asymptomatic infection. CMV antigenemia is a sensitive, early, quantitative marker of active CMV infection after liver transplantation.