Incidence and outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection on solid organ transplantation recipients: A nationwide population-based study

Am J Transplant. 2021 Jul;21(7):2509-2521. doi: 10.1111/ajt.16428. Epub 2021 Jan 20.


Since February 21 2020, when the Italian National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità-ISS) reported the first autochthonous case of infection, a dedicated surveillance system for SARS-CoV-2-positive (COVID+) cases has been created in Italy. These data were cross-referenced with those inside the Information Transplant System in order to assess the cumulative incidence (CI) and the outcome of SARS-COV-2 infection in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs) who are assumed to be most at risk. We compared our results with those of COVID+ nontransplanted patients (Non-SOTRs) with follow-up through September 30, 2020. The CI of SARS-CoV-2 infection in SOTRs was 1.02%, higher than in COVID+ Non-SOTRs (0.4%, p < .05) with a greater risk in the Lombardy region (2.89%). The CI by type of organ transplant was higher for heart (CI 1.57%, incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.36) and lower for liver (CI 0.63%, IRR 0.54). The 60-day CI of mortality was 30.6%, twice as much that of COVID+ Non-SOTRs (15.4%) with a 60-day gender and age adjusted odds ratio (adjusted-OR) of 3.83 for COVID+ SOTRs (95% confidence interval [3.03-4.85]). The lowest 60-day adjusted-OR was observed in liver SOTRs (OR 0.46, 95% confidence interval [0.25-0.86]). More detailed studies on disease management and evolution will be necessary in these patients at greater risk of COVID-19.

Keywords: clinical research/practice; epidemiology; health services and outcomes research; infection and infectious agents; infectious disease; organ transplantation in general; patient survival.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Organ Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Transplant Recipients