Monitoring of human cytomegalovirus infections and ganciclovir treatment in heart transplant recipients by determination of viremia, antigenemia, and DNAemia

G. Gerna, D. Zipeto, M. Parea, M. G. Revello, E. Silini, E. Percivalle, M. Zavattoni, P. Grossi, G. Milanesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fourteen heart transplant recipients were monitored for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection based on determination of antigenemia, viremia, and DNAemia (by polymerase chain reaction [PCR]) in peripheral blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL). Three patients had symptomatic primary, 10 had recurrent (3 asymptomatic), and 1 (seronegative) had no HCMV infection. Severe clinical symptoms appeared when levels of viremia/antigenemia were >50 infected PMNL/2 x 10 5 cells examined. Of 200 blood samples examined, 93 (46.5%) were positive for viremia/antigenemia and DNAemia, whereas 48 (24.0%) were positive for DNAemia only; 59 (29.5%) were negative in all assays. Follow-up of HCMV infections in heart transplant recipients showed that PCR can detect viral appearance in blood 7-10 days earlier than assays for antigenemia/viremia. On the other hand, viral disappearance from blood, as assessed by PCR, occurred weeks or months later than revealed by other assays. Detection of virus by PCR only was never associated with overt HCMV-related clinical symptoms. Of the 8 symptomatic patients treated with ganciclovir, 2 became PCR-negative at the end of treatment and 1 cleared virus from blood in the following weeks, whereas 5 showed persistent or recurrent infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-498
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume164
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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