Increased incidence of cytomegalovirus infection in high-risk liver transplant recipients receiving valganciclovir prophylaxis versus ganciclovir prophylaxis



Optimal measures for the prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in high-risk orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) patients are unknown. The charts of high-risk OLT recipients with 12 months of follow-up who were transplanted over a 44-month period were reviewed. The incidence of CMV disease in CMV-seropositive donor/CMV-seronegative recipient patients receiving valganciclovir or ganciclovir prophylaxis was compared. Sixty-six patients met the inclusion criteria and were treated with 1 of 3 prophylactic regimens: valganciclovir (900 mg daily; 27 patients), oral ganciclovir (1000 mg every 8 hours; 17 patients), or intravenous ganciclovir (6 mg/kg daily; 22 patients). Eight CMV cases occurred, all after completion of the prophylaxis. The combined incidence of CMV disease with intravenous and oral ganciclovir was lower than the incidence in valganciclovir recipients (P = 0.056; relative risk, 4.33; 95% confidence interval, 0.94–19.87). CMV disease occurred in 22.2% of valganciclovir recipients, 4.5% of intravenous ganciclovir recipients, and 5.9% of oral ganciclovir recipients. In conclusion, late-onset CMV disease occurred more frequently among high-risk liver transplant recipients treated with valganciclovir prophylaxis. The 4-fold higher incidence of CMV disease in our study supports the avoidance of valganciclovir for prophylaxis in high-risk OLT patients. Liver Transpl 15:963–967, 2009. © 2009 AASLD.