Delayed-onset primary cytomegalovirus disease and the risk of allograft failure and mortality after kidney transplantation

Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Mar 15;46(6):840-6. doi: 10.1086/528718.


Background: During the contemporary era of antiviral prophylaxis, the impact of delayed-onset primary cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease on the outcome of kidney transplantation is not known. We evaluated the incidence, clinical features, risk factors, and outcomes of CMV disease among high-risk kidney transplant recipients.

Methods: The medical records of CMV-seronegative recipients of kidney transplants from CMV-seropositive donors were reviewed. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to identify factors associated with CMV disease and to assess its impact on allograft loss and mortality.

Results: None of the 176 CMV-seronegative recipients of kidney transplants from CMV-seropositive donors developed breakthrough CMV disease during a median of 92 days (interquartile range, 90-92 days) of oral ganciclovir or valganciclovir prophylaxis. Thereafter, 51 patients (29%) developed CMV disease at a median of 61 days (interquartile range, 40-143 days) after stopping antiviral prophylaxis. Early-onset bacterial and fungal infection (hazard ratio, 3.61; 95% confidence interval, 1.78-7.33; p < .001) and a Charlson comorbidity index > or =3 (hazard ratio, 2.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-4.22; p = .011) were associated with a higher risk of delayed-onset primary CMV disease, and postrejection antiviral prophylaxis (hazard ratio, 0.29; 95% confidence interval, 0.09-0.94; P = .039) was associated with a lower risk of such CMV disease. A time-dependent Cox regression analysis revealed a statistically significant association between tissue-invasive CMV disease and allograft loss or mortality (hazard ratio, 2.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-6.67; P = .016).

Conclusion: This study of a large cohort of CMV-seronegative recipients of kidney transplants from CMV-seropositive donors illustrates the ongoing challenge of delayed-onset primary CMV disease and its impact on transplantation outcomes despite antiviral prophylaxis. Better strategies for CMV disease prevention after kidney transplantation are warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chemoprevention
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Ganciclovir / analogs & derivatives
  • Ganciclovir / therapeutic use
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Valganciclovir


  • Valganciclovir
  • Ganciclovir