Current characteristics and outcome of cytomegalovirus infections after kidney transplantation

Transpl Infect Dis. 2014 Aug;16(4):568-77. doi: 10.1111/tid.12247. Epub 2014 Jun 26.


Introduction: The clinical course of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in the current era is poorly described. We characterized the symptoms and outcome of all CMV infections in a large cohort of kidney transplant recipients. Among 1129 kidney transplant recipients transplanted between 2004 and 2011 in Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Helsinki University Hospital, 297 patients with CMV infection were characterized.

Results: CMV disease occurred in 217/1129 patients (19.2%), and CMV infection in 297/1129 (26.3%). Gastrointestinal symptoms were recorded in 58% and fever in 47% patients with primary CMV disease, compared to 46% and 27% patients with symptomatic CMV reactivation, whereas leukopenia or thrombocytopenia were seen in only 17-28% patients, and malaise in 9-10%. Tissue-invasive CMV gastroenteritis was confirmed in 11% and CMV pneumonia in only 1% of patients with CMV disease. Only 1 patient died because of CMV infection (mortality 0.3%). Virus-related factors or the use of secondary prophylaxis did not predict the risk of recurrence, which occurred in 33% patients.

Conclusion: In conclusion, CMV disease remains a common problem after kidney transplantation. Gastrointestinal symptoms were common, especially in patients with primary CMV infection, whereas bone marrow suppression, hepatopathy, or malaise were seen less frequently.

Keywords: CMV disease; cytomegalovirus; kidney transplantation; outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / etiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Ganciclovir / analogs & derivatives
  • Ganciclovir / therapeutic use
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Valganciclovir


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • virE1 protein, Agrobacterium tumefaciens
  • Valganciclovir
  • Ganciclovir