Burden and Timeline of Infectious Diseases in the First Year After Solid Organ Transplantation in the Swiss Transplant Cohort Study

Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 23;71(7):e159-e169. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz1113.


Background: The burden and timeline of posttransplant infections are not comprehensively documented in the current era of immunosuppression and prophylaxis.

Methods: In this prospective study nested within the Swiss Transplant Cohort Study (STCS), all clinically relevant infections were identified by transplant-infectious diseases physicians in persons receiving solid organ transplant (SOT) between May 2008 and December 2014 with ≥12 months of follow-up.

Results: Among 3541 SOT recipients, 2761 (1612 kidney, 577 liver, 286 lung, 213 heart, and 73 kidney-pancreas) had ≥12 months of follow-up; 1520 patients (55%) suffered 3520 infections during the first year posttransplantation. Burden and timelines of clinically relevant infections differed between transplantations. Bacteria were responsible for 2202 infections (63%) prevailing throughout the year, with a predominance of Enterobacteriaceae (54%) as urinary pathogens in heart, lung, and kidney transplant recipients, and as digestive tract pathogens in liver transplant recipients. Enterococcus spp (20%) occurred as urinary tract pathogens in kidney transplant recipients and as digestive tract pathogens in liver transplant recipients, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (9%) in lung transplant recipients. Among 1039 viral infections, herpesviruses predominated (51%) in kidney, liver, and heart transplant recipients. Among 263 fungal infections, Candida spp (60%) prevailed as digestive tract pathogens in liver transplant recipients. Opportunistic pathogens, including Aspergillus fumigatus (1.4%) and cytomegalovirus (6%), were rare, scattering over 12 months across all SOT recipients.

Conclusions: In the current era of immunosuppression and prophylaxis, SOT recipients experience a high burden of infections throughout the first year posttransplantation, with rare opportunistic pathogens and a predominance of bacteria.

Keywords: bacterial; fungal; infection; solid organ transplant; viral.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Communicable Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Transplant Recipients