Nocardia infections in solid organ transplantation: Guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Community of Practice of the American Society of Transplantation

Clin Transplant. 2019 Sep;33(9):e13509. doi: 10.1111/ctr.13509. Epub 2019 Mar 19.


These updated guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Community of Practice of the American Society of Transplantation review the diagnosis, prevention, and management of Nocardia infections after solid organ transplantation (SOT). Nocardia infections have increased in the last two decades, likely due to improved detection and identification methods and an expanding immunocompromised population. The risk of developing nocardiosis after transplantation varies with the type of organ transplanted and the immunosuppression regimen used. Nocardia infection most commonly involves the lung. Disseminated infection can occur, with spread to the bloodstream, skin, or central nervous system. Early recognition of the infection and initial appropriate treatment is important to achieve good outcomes. Species identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing are strongly recommended, as inter- and intraspecies susceptibility patterns can vary. Sulfonamide is the first-line treatment of Nocardia infections, and combination therapy with at least two antimicrobial agents should be used initially for disseminated or severe nocardiosis. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) prophylaxis may be helpful in preventing Nocardia infection after SOT.

Keywords: brain abscess; immunocompromised patients; nocardiosis; opportunistic infection; pneumonia.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Nocardia / drug effects*
  • Nocardia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Nocardia Infections / drug therapy*
  • Nocardia Infections / etiology
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Societies, Medical


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents