Transfusion-associated cytomegalovirus mononucleosis

Ann Surg. 1977 Apr;185(4):406-10. doi: 10.1097/00000658-197704000-00006.


Transfusion-associated cytomegalovirus mononucleosis is generally considered only as a complication of extracorporeal circulation following cardiac surgery. Three cases following trauma were recognized in less than one year. Both massive and limited volume blood transfusions were involved. Hectic fever was a characteristic feature in these otherwise remarkably asymptomatic individuals, without the classic features of heterophile-positive infectious mononucleosis. Since the illness developed several weeks into the post-operative period after extensive thoracic or abdominal trauma surgery, the presence of an undrained abscess was naturally the major diagnostic concern. Atypical lymphocytosis, markers of altered immunity (cold agglutinins, rheumatoid factor) and moderate hepatic dysfunction were important laboratory clues. In one case, focal isotope defects in the spleen scan misleadingly suggested a septic complication. A false-positive monospot test initially obscured the correct serologic diagnosis in the same patient. Failure to consider this selflimited viral infection may be a critical factor leading to unnecessary surgery. Other viral agents capable of eliciting a similar syndrome are cited.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / diagnosis
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / etiology*
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / immunology
  • Male
  • Transfusion Reaction*


  • Antibodies, Viral