Impact of pretransplant rifaximin therapy on early post–liver transplant infections


  • This study was presented in part at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Transplant Congress in Boston, MA.


Bacterial and fungal infections are major causes of morbidity and mortality after liver transplantation (LT). The role of intestinal decontamination in the prevention of post-LT infections is controversial. Rifaximin is widely used for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy. The effect of rifaximin on post-LT infections is unknown. The aim of our study was to determine the effect of rifaximin therapy in the pretransplant period on early bacterial infections (EBIs) and fungal infections within the first 30 days after LT. All adult patients who underwent LT at our institution (January 2009 to July 2011) were included in this retrospective cohort study. Patients receiving antibiotics other than pretransplant protocol antibiotics were excluded. Patients were stratified into 2 groups based on the presence or absence of rifaximin therapy for at least 2 days before LT. Infections were defined by the isolation of any bacterial or fungal organisms within 30 days of LT. Multivariate regression analysis, Student t tests, and Pearson's chi-square tests were used to compare the 2 groups. Two hundred sixty-eight patients were included, and 71 of these patients (26.5%) were on rifaximin at the time of LT. The 2 groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, race, and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score. There were no significant differences in the rates of EBIs (30% for the non-rifaximin group and 25% for the rifaximin group, P = 0.48) or fungal infections between the 2 groups. There was no increase in antimicrobial resistance among the infecting organisms. There was no difference in survival between the rifaximin and non-rifaximin groups (98% versus 97%, P = 0.36). In conclusion, the use of rifaximin in the pre-LT period was not associated with an increased risk of bacterial or fungal infections in the early post-LT period. Liver Transpl 20:544–551, 2014. © 2014 AASLD.