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Keywords:

  • Bacillary angiomatosis;
  • bartonellosis;
  • opportunistic infections;
  • cat-scratch disease;
  • post-transplant infections;
  • post-transplant dermatology;
  • Bartonella henselae

Abstract

Bacillary angiomatosis (BA) is a rare vasculoproliferative disorder due to Bartonella henselae (BH) or Bartonella quintana. It can involve many organs, including the skin, and has been mainly reported in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. In organ transplant recipients (OTR), this disorder remains misdiagnosed and therapeutic guidelines are nonexistent. We report 3 cases of BA with skin involvement in OTR and review similar cases from the literature. BA manifests on the skin with violaceous lesions mimicking Kaposi sarcoma, and is associated with fever, lymphadenopathy, and liver, spleen, or lung nodules. Bartonellosis infections in OTR are due to BH, the agent causing cat-scratch disease (CSD), but BA comprises histologically a prominent vascular proliferation, which is usually lacking in CSD. Cultures and serologic tests are poorly reliable for the diagnosis, which relies on demonstration of BH within the lesions. A history of cat exposure exists in most cases and pediatric OTR are at higher risk. Prevention consists of regular use of a flea-control product in cats and prompt cleaning of scratches. Our cases highlight several original features of this rare condition, which could potentially improve the management of BA in OTR.