Background: Invasive fungal infection (IFI) is associated with high mortality after heart transplantation (HTx). After two undiagnosed fatal cases of early disseminated fungal infections in our heart transplant program, a retrospective analysis was conducted to identify risk factors for the development of IFI and implement a new antifungal prophylaxis policy.
Methods: Clinical characteristics of HTx recipients hospitalized in our center (2004-2010) were recorded (Period 1), and risk factors associated with IFI were investigated using Cox regression analysis. From October 2010 to October 2012 (Period 2), targeted caspofungin prophylaxis was administered to all recipients at high risk for IFI, based on the results of the Period 1 analysis.
Results: During Period 1, 10% (6/59) of the patients developed IFI at a median onset of 9 days after transplantation. By multivariate analysis, the use of posttransplant extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was the strongest predictor for fungal infection (OR, 29.93; 95% CI, 1.51-592.57, P=0.03), whereas renal replacement therapy (RRT) and Aspergillus colonization were significant predictors only by univariate analysis. During Period 2, only 4% (1/26) of the patients developed IFI. In patients at high risk for IFI, antifungal prophylaxis was administered to 17% (4/23) in Period 1 versus 100% (13/13) in Period 2 (P<0.01). By survival analysis, antifungal prophylaxis was associated with a reduction in 90-day IFI incidence (HR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.03-0.84, P=0.03) and 30-day mortality (HR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.09-0.8, P=0.02).
Conclusion: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was identified an important risk factor for IFI after HTx, and its use may require targeted administration of antifungal prophylaxis in the immediate posttransplant period.