Outcomes of transplant recipients with pretransplant Nocardia colonization or infection

Transpl Infect Dis. 2023 Oct;25(5):e14097. doi: 10.1111/tid.14097. Epub 2023 Jun 28.


Background: Specific pretransplant infections have been associated with poor posttransplant outcomes. However, the impact of pretransplant Nocardia isolation has not been studied.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study from three centers in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota of patients with Nocardia infection or colonization who subsequently underwent solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from November 2011 through April 2022. Outcomes included posttransplant Nocardia infection and mortality.

Results: Nine patients with pretransplant Nocardia were included. Two patients were deemed colonized with Nocardia, and the remaining seven had nocardiosis. These patients underwent bilateral lung (N = 5), heart (N = 1), heart-kidney (N = 1), liver-kidney (N = 1), and allogeneic stem cell transplantation (N = 1) at a median of 283 (interquartile range [IQR] 152-283) days after Nocardia isolation. Two (22.2%) patients had disseminated infection, and two were receiving active Nocardia treatment at the time of transplantation. One Nocardia isolate was resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) and all patients received TMP-SMX prophylaxis posttransplant, often for extended durations. No patients developed posttransplant nocardiosis during a median follow-up of 1.96 (IQR 0.90-6.33) years. Two patients died during follow-up, both without evidence of nocardiosis.

Conclusions: This study did not identify any episodes of posttransplant nocardiosis among nine patients with pretransplant Nocardia isolation. As patients with the most severe infections may have been denied transplantation, further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to better analyze any impact of pretransplant Nocardia on posttransplant outcomes. However, among patients who receive posttransplant TMP-SMX prophylaxis, these data suggest pretransplant Nocardia isolation may not impart a heightened risk of posttransplant nocardiosis.

Keywords: hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; nocardiosis; pretransplant; prophylaxis; solid organ transplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nocardia Infections* / drug therapy
  • Nocardia Infections* / epidemiology
  • Nocardia*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / therapeutic use


  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination