Definitive approaches to most infectious diseases following renal transplantation have not been established, leading to different approaches at different transplant centers. To study the extent of these differences, we conducted a survey of the practices surrounding specific infectious diseases at US renal transplant centers.
A survey containing 103 questions covering viral, bacterial, mycobacterial and protozoal infections was developed. Surveys were sent to program directors at all U.S. renal transplant centers.
Responses were received from 147 of 245 (60%) transplant centers and were proportionately represented all centers with respect to program size and geographical location. Pre-transplant donor and recipient screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) is uniform, but great discrepancy exists in the testing for other agents. HCV seropositive donors are used in 49% of centers. HIV seropositivity remains a contraindication to transplantation, although 13% of centers indicated they have experience with such patients. Post-transplant, there is wide variety in approach to CMV and Pneumocystis carinii (PCP) prophylaxis. Similarly divergent practices affect post-transplant vaccinations, with 54% of centers routinely vaccinating all patients according to customary guidelines in non-transplant populations. In contrast, 22% of centers indicated they do not recommend vaccination in any patients.
We believe an appreciation of the differences in approaches to post-transplant infectious complications may encourage individual centers to analyse the results of their own practices. Such analysis may assist in the design of studies to answer widespread and important questions regarding the care of patients following renal transplantation.