Low Incidence of Severe Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections in Lung Transplant Recipients Despite the Absence of Specific Therapy.
Author(s): Uckay I, Gasche-Soccal PM, Kaiser L, Stern R, Mazza-Stalder J, Aubert JD, van Delden C
Affiliation(s): Service of Infectious Diseases, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Publication date & source: 2009-10-17, J Heart Lung Transplant., [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections in lung transplant recipients (LTRs) have been associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Immunoglobulins, ribavirin and palivizumab are suggested treatments for both pre-emptive and therapeutic purposes. However, in the absence of randomized, placebo-controlled trials, efficacy is controversial and there is toxicity as well as cost concerns. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed cases of lower respiratory tract RSV infections in adult LTRs. Diagnosis was based on clinical history, combined with a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or viral cultures of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimens. RESULTS: Ten symptomatic patients were identified (7 men and 3 women, age range 28 to 64 years). All were hospitalized for community-acquired respiratory tract infections. Two patients had a concomitant acute Grade A3 graft rejection, and 1 patient had a concomitant bacterial pneumonia. Eight patients did not receive a specific anti-RSV treatment because of clinical stability and/or improvement at the time of RSV diagnosis. Only 2 patients (1 with Grade A3 allograft rejection and 1 requiring mechanical ventilation) received ribavirin and palivizumab. All patients recovered without complications and with no persistent RSV infection. However, bronchiolitis obliterans (BOS) staging worsened in 6 patients during the mean follow-up of 45 months. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that mild RSV infections in LTRs might evolve favorably in the absence of specific anti-viral therapy. However, this observation needs confirmation in a large clinical trial specifically investigating the development of BOS in untreated vs treated patients.