Intravitreal sustained-release ganciclovir implants for severe bilateral cytomegalovirus retinitis after stem cell transplantation


Fredrik Ghosh, MD
Department of Ophthalmology
Lund University Hospital
S-221 85 Lund
Phone: +46 46 2220765
Fax: +46 46 2220774


Purpose:  To describe the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis with intravitreal sustain-release ganciclovir devices in a 16-year-old patient in third remission of acute lymphoblastic leukemia after stem cell transplantation.

Methods: The patient received a stem cell transplant from an unrelated bone marrow donor after which he contracted a serious CMV infection manifested in the lungs and retinae. His immune system at this time was almost completely depleted. Implantation of a sustained-release ganciclovir device was performed in both eyes when retinitis progressed in spite of aggressive antiviral intravenous treatment.

Results: No per- or postoperative complications were noted. Infiltrates, hemorrhages and macular edema present preoperatively dissolved over a period of six months. The final visual acuity was 1.0 in both eyes. The patients immune system and lung function slowly recovered during the same time period.

Conclusions: The intravitreal ganciclovir implant provides safe and effective therapy against CMV retinitis, and should be considered in patients acquiring the infection after stem cell transplantation.