Of a total of 117 bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients in the period from August 1988 to November 1995, 9 (7.7%) developed haemorrhagic cystitis. This condition was characterized in all nine patients by late onset (day +24 to +50 post-BMT), long duration (1 to 7 weeks), and the excretion of BK virus in the urine, as confirmed by electron microscopy, DNA hybridization and PCR analysis. Adenovirus was not involved. The serological assessment of BK virus-specific IgM and IgG pre- and post-BMT is consistent with viral reactivation in all patients, although a primary infection cannot be absolutely excluded in a single patient. A significant correlation between the use of high-dose busulphan (16 mg/kg) in the preparative regimen and development of haemorrhagic cystitis (P = 0. 0003) was evident. The severe course of the disease in two patients resulted in bladder tamponade; bleeding could not be inhibited with coagulation and laser treatment. Deterioration was prevented by bladder irrigation via a suprapubic catheter. Remission occurred spontaneously in all patients. CONCLUSION: BK virus induced haemorrhagic cystitis in a paediatric bone marrow transplantation recipients is characterized by late onset, long duration, viral reactivation and correlates to high-dose busulphan. Severe bleeding could not be influenced by surgical intervention.
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