Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in heart transplant recipients: Is mortality decreasing?

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Introduction: Infection remains a major complication among heart transplant (HT) recipients, causing approximately 20% of deaths in the first year after transplantation. In this population, Aspergillus spp. can have various clinical presentations including invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA), with high mortality (53-78%). Objectives: To establish the characteristics of IPA infection in HT recipients and their outcomes in our center. Methods: Among 328 HTs performed in our center between 1998 and 2016, we identified five cases of IPA. Patient medical records were examined and clinical variables were extracted. Results: All cases were male, and mean age was 62 years. The most common indication for HT was non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy. Productive cough was reported as the main symptom. The radiological assessment was based on chest X-ray and chest computed tomography. The most commonly reported radiographic abnormality was multiple nodular opacities in both techniques. Bronchoscopy was performed in all patients and Aspergillus fumigatus was isolated in four cases on bronchoalveolar lavage culture. Treatment included amphotericin in four patients, subsequently changed to voriconazole in three, and posaconazole in one patient, with total treatment lasting an average of 12 months. Neutropenia was found in only one patient, renal failure was observed in two patients, and concurrent cytomegalovirus infection in three patients. All patients were alive after a mean follow-up of 18 months. Conclusions: IPA is a potentially lethal complication after HT. Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of aggressive treatment are the cornerstone of better survival.




Flores-Umanzor, E., Ivey-Miranda, J. B., Pujol-Lopez, M., Cepas-Guillen, P., Fernandez-Valledor, A., Caldentey, G., … Castel, M. A. (2019). Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in heart transplant recipients: Is mortality decreasing? Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia, 38(7), 497–501.

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