Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in liver transplantation

Authors

  • Baligh R. Yehia,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
    • Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Silverstein Pavilion, 3rd Floor, Suite D, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
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    • Telephone: 215-615-4724; FAX: 215-662-7611

  • Emily A. Blumberg

    1. Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
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Abstract

Mycobacterium tuberculosis can cause significant infections in liver transplant candidates and recipients. Its nonspecific clinical features and prolonged growth time in culture make the diagnosis difficult, and treating tuberculosis (TB) remains challenging because of significant toxicities and drug-drug interactions. The diagnosis of a latent TB infection may be accomplished with tuberculin skin testing and with the newer interferon-γ release assays, although this infection may be underrecognized because of host factors. Latent TB should be treated, but the degree of liver failure and the likelihood of progression to active TB will dictate whether this should occur before or after transplantation. Patients who have a history of TB, have used muromonab-CD3 or anti-T lymphocyte antibodies, or have experienced allograft rejection or coinfection with cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystisjiroveci, or Nocardia are at the greatest risk of developing active TB. Active TB in transplant patients is difficult to treat because of drug-induced hepatotoxicity and the significant interaction between rifampin and calcineurin inhibitors. In this article, we review the epidemiology, clinical features, and evaluation of transplant candidates and recipients. In addition, we offer recommendations on the appropriate diagnostic and treatment regimens for patients with latent and active TB infections. Liver Transpl 16:1129–1135, 2010. © 2010 AASLD.

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