Background: The potential role of cadaver skin as a vehicle for CMV transmission to burn patients has never been clearly defined. We sought to determine if a cytomegalovirus (CMV)-positive cadaver allograft transmits CMV infections to CMV-seronegative burn patients.
Study design: All patients in this study were CMV seronegative on admission. They received CMV-seronegative blood products, and cadaver allografts for temporary wound closure and management without regard to the donor's CMV serum status (positive or negative).
Results: Of 493 patients admitted from 1989 to 1993, 22 were CMV seronegative on admission and required cadaver allografts for their burn wounds. Five (22.7 percent) of 22 patients seroconverted during hospitalization: one of five had CMV pneumonia develop, two had CMV viruria develop, and three had persistent fever, abnormal liver enzymes, and diarrhea not ascribable to bacterial or other viral agents.
Conclusions: Cytomegalovirus infections result from using CMV-seropositive cadaver allografts on seronegative burn patients.