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Revisiting cytomegalovirus serostatus and replication as risk factors for inferior long-term outcomes in the current era of renal transplantation

Nicole Bischof, Caroline Wehmeier, Michael Dickenmann, Patricia Hirt-Minkowski, Patrizia Amico, Jürg Steiger, Klaudia Naegele, Hans H Hirsch, Stefan Schaub
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 2020 January 14
31943075

BACKGROUND: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) serostatus and CMV replication are considered as risk factors for inferior graft and patient survival after renal transplantation, but long-term outcome data are limited. The aim of this retrospective single-centre study was to investigate the impact of CMV serostatus and CMV replication/disease on long-term outcomes in a well-defined cohort managed by a standardized CMV prevention/treatment protocol.

METHODS: We investigated 599 consecutive kidney transplantations having a CMV prevention protocol consisting of either prophylaxis (D+/R- and R+ with ATG induction) or screening/deferred therapy (R+ without ATG induction). Patients were grouped according to CMV serostatus [high risk (D+/R-): n = 122; intermediate risk (R+): n = 306; low risk (D-/R-): n = 171] and occurrence of CMV replication/disease (no CMV replication: n = 419; asymptomatic CMV replication: n = 110; CMV syndrome: n = 39; tissue-invasive CMV disease: n = 31). The median follow-up time was 6.5 years.

RESULTS: Graft and patient survival were not different among the three CMV serostatus groups as well as the four CMV replication/disease groups (P ≥ 0.44). Eighty-seven patients died, 17 due to infections (21%), but none was attributable to CMV. The overall hospitalization incidence for CMV-related infection was 3% (17/599 patients). The incidence of clinical and (sub)clinical rejection was similar among the groups (P ≥ 0.17). In a multivariate Cox proportional hazard model, neither CMV serostatus, nor CMV replication, nor CMV disease were independent predictors for patient death or graft failure, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This retrospective single-centre study suggests that the negative impact of CMV infection on long-term patient and allograft survival as well as on allograft rejection can be largely eliminated with current diagnostic/therapeutic management.

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