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J Heart Lung Transplant

Transmission of hepatitis B virus among heart transplant recipients during endomyocardial biopsy procedures.

Year 1998
Osterhaus AD. Vos MC. Balk AH. de Man RA. Mouton JW. Rothbarth PH. Schalm SW. Tomaello AM. Niesters HG. Verbrugh HA.
Department of Virology, University Hospital Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
BACKGROUND: The unexpected conversion to HBsAg seropositivity of three cardiac allograft recipients prompted us to conduct a multidisciplinary study to identify the source, transmission mode, and extent of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among the 256 cardiac allograft recipients of our hospital. METHODS: All recipients were retrospectively screened for serum markers of HBV infection. A selected genomic region defining subtypes of the viruses involved was amplified and sequenced. An epidemiologic case-control study for possible risk factors was conducted to identify the mode of transmission. RESULTS: Eighteen additional HBV-infected patients were identified, none of whom had shown symptoms of HBV infection. The involvement of one virus (subtype ayw 3) was shown in 20 of the 21 HBV-infected patients. This virus is found in less than 10% of HBV-infected individuals in The Netherlands. The demonstration of a common source of infection, combined with results of the epidemiologic study, identified posttransplantation endomyocardial biopsy procedures as the most likely mode of transmission. However, we also found evidence of secondary virus transmission by cardiac catheterization procedures to nonallograft recipients. CONCLUSIONS: The immunosuppressive therapy practiced in these patients to prevent allograft rejection may have not only facilitated virus transmission by causing high levels of viremia but also left the spreading of HBV undetected by causing a subclinical course of the infection. These findings stress the necessity of strict hygienic precautions during intravascular diagnostic procedures and indicate that vaccination against and routine monitoring for certain bloodborne infections in cardiac allograft recipients should be considered.

Morbidity, functional status, and immunosuppressive therapy after heart transplantation: an analysis of the joint International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation/United Network for Organ Sharing Thoracic Registry.

Year 1998
Brann WM. Bennett LE. Keck BM. Hosenpud JD.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.
BACKGROUND: The morbidity and mortality studies on heart transplantation to date have come from single-center or multicenter studies that often have required collection of data over periods of time greater than a year. Data are now available from the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation/United Network for Organ Sharing (ISHLT/UNOS) Thoracic Registry from all centers in the United States performing heart transplantation, which allows analysis of morbidity and mortality rates on an annual basis. METHODS: All transplantation centers in the United States are now required to submit registration (at the time of transplantation) and 1-year follow-up clinical data on all heart transplant recipients to the ISHLT/UNOS Thoracic Registry. Data forms were submitted to the Registry regarding pretransplantation diagnoses, causes of death, rehospitalization, functional and work status at 1 year, immunosuppressive therapy, and the development of complications such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, renal insufficiency, diabetes, and malignancy. This study is an analysis of this database for the period of April 1, 1994, through March 31, 1995, examining specifically morbidity, functional status, and other clinical events occurring during the period after the initial hospitalization and up to the first-year follow-up. The study cohort consisted of the 1853 patients who survived the initial hospitalization and for whom matching registration and 1-year follow-up forms were available. RESULTS: Rehospitalization during the first year after the initial admission was required by more than 40% of survivors, and at least one third of these required admission to the intensive care unit. Infection and rejection were the most common reasons for rehospitalization, each accounting for about 20%. Complications during the first year occurring in 10% or more of survivors included hypertension, diabetes, renal dysfunction, and hyperlipidemia. Less common complications included symptomatic bone disease, chronic liver disease, cataracts, stroke, and malignancy. Allograft function was excellent among survivors at 1 year, with a mean ejection fraction of 57.4% and less than 7% of patients requiring pacemaker therapy or having development of coronary artery disease. Eighty-three percent of survivors reported no functional limitations, but only 27% were working full-time. Eighty-nine percent of survivors were receiving prednisone at their 1-year follow-up. CONCLUSION: Clinical data are now available from the ISHLT/UNOS Thoracic Registry on the basis of the initial registration and 1-year follow-up of all patients undergoing heart transplantation in the United States. Analysis of these data from April 1, 1994, through March 31, 1995, demonstrates that the first year after the initial hospitalization for heart transplantation is a period of significant morbidity and frequent rehospitalization but excellent survival. In spite of a high level of functional capacity at 1-year follow-up, only a minority of patients return to work. The ISHLT/UNOS Thoracic Registry can now serve as a valid source of data for future analysis of trends in heart transplantation in the United States.

Pulmonary capillaritis: a possible histologic form of acute pulmonary allograft rejection.

Year 1998
Badesch DB. Zamora M. Fullerton D. Weill D. Tuder R. Grover F. Schwarz MI.
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA.
Acute rejection after lung transplantation occurs commonly and is usually characterized histologically by a perivascular mononuclear infiltrate. We report five cases of pulmonary capillaritis with a histologic appearance distinct from typical rejection, occurring in patients ranging in age from 18 to 45 years, with a variety of underlying diseases including alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency, pulmonary hypertension, cystic fibrosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Four of the five patients had alveolar hemorrhage histologically, and two had frank hemoptysis. Time of onset ranged from 3 weeks to many months after transplantation. Three cases were fulminant, and there were two deaths. In only one case, with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bronchitis, could infection be established. All were treated with intensification of immunosuppressive therapy. Plasmapheresis was carried out in two cases and coincided with temporary improvement, but its efficacy was questionable because of concurrent immunosuppressive therapy. Two had recurrent biopsy-proven acute rejection within 6 weeks of treatment, and one had recurrent severe pulmonary hemorrhage that abated with total lymphoid irradiation. Our experience suggests that pulmonary capillaritis in lung transplant recipients can be an acute, fatal illness with the potential for recurrence in the survivors. We speculate that it represents a form of acute vascular rejection. Early pathologic diagnosis and aggressive immunosuppressive therapy are recommended. Although a humoral component was not documented, the possible response to plasmapheresis requires continued evaluation.

Return to work after lung transplantation.

Year 1998
Paris W. Diercks M. Bright J. Zamora M. Kesten S. Scavuzzo M. Paradis I.
Integris Oklahoma Transplantation Institute, Oklahoma City 73112-4481, USA.
The social rehabilitation of lung transplant recipients becomes increasingly important as the results of lung transplantation improve. Although return-to-work (RTW) rates have been published for recipients of other organ transplants, no such data are available after lung transplantation. The purpose of this study was to determine what factors influence RTW after lung transplantation. Of 99 lung transplant recipients (43 single, 56 bilateral) surveyed from Denver, Colorado, (n = 49) and Toronto, Ontario, Canada (n = 50), 22% (n = 22) were employed, 38% (n = 38) were unemployed but medically able to work, 29% (n = 29) were medically disabled, and 10% (n = 10) had retired. The RTW rate for those medically able to work was 37% (22/60), and it was identical at each center (n = 11). Only Canadian lung transplant recipients (36%, 4/11) secured new jobs, whereas all Colorado lung transplant recipients returned to their previous employment (100%, 11/11). A stepwise discriminant analysis revealed that (1) pretransplantation employment, (2) a diagnosis of emphysema, cystic fibrosis, or primary pulmonary hypertension, (3) a self-report of being physically able to work, (4) greater functional improvement as measured by post-lung transplantation percent predicted forced vital capacity, and (5) post-lung transplantation 6-minute walk > 550 m positively influenced RTW. This analysis accurately profiled 82% of the employed and 76% of the unemployed recipients for an overall effectiveness of 79%. The findings of this study are that (1) a 37% employment rate for those physically able was comparable to other types of organ transplant recipients, (2) employment was not determined by the type of lung transplantation procedure (single or bilateral), and (3) social factors remain employment barriers for some recipients, but their absence did not guarantee a better employment rate.

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