A case-control study of the risk factors for developing aspergillosis following cardiac transplant

Clin Transplant. 2018 Sep;32(9):e13367. doi: 10.1111/ctr.13367. Epub 2018 Aug 20.


Background: Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality following cardiac transplantation; however, data regarding the predictors of IA in this patient population are limited.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study to identify the risk factors for IA in patients who underwent cardiac transplantation at a single center from 1986 to 2008 (Cohort 1) and 2009 to 2015 (Cohort 2). Cases of IA were matched to two controls from the same year of transplantation, and data were collected from the date of cardiac transplantation to the date of documented Aspergillus infection for each case, or for an equivalent number of days for each control. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to identify independent predictors of IA in Cohort 1. After 2009, targeted antifungal prophylaxis with oral voriconazole was initiated in patients with risk factors for IA. The incidence of IA was compared pre- and postintervention.

Results: IA was identified in 23 of 189 (8.0%) patients within Cohort 1. Significant risk factors for IA on multivariate analysis included an increased number of pretransplant hospitalizations (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.19-2.76) and posttransplant acute cellular allograft rejection (ACR) (OR 1.99, 95% 1.06-3.75). Following the implementation of targeted antifungal prophylaxis in 2009, IA was identified in 2 of 107 (2.0%) patients in Cohort 2.

Conclusions: Increased pretransplant hospitalizations and posttransplant ACR episodes represent significant risk factors for IA following cardiac transplant. Targeted antifungal prophylaxis in at-risk patients reduces the incidence of IA.

Keywords: antifungal prophylaxis; heart transplant; invasive aspergillosis.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy
  • Aspergillosis / epidemiology*
  • Aspergillosis / microbiology
  • Aspergillosis / pathology
  • Aspergillus / drug effects
  • Aspergillus / isolation & purification*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology*
  • Graft Rejection / microbiology
  • Graft Rejection / pathology
  • Graft Survival*
  • Heart Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate


  • Antifungal Agents