Of the first 166 heart and 15 heart and lung transplant recipients at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, who survived for more than one month after transplantation, 162 were investigated for cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection by serological methods. Altogether, 73 (45%) developed CMV infection after transplantation: 30 (18.5%) had acquired primary infection and 43 (26.5%) reactivation or reinfection. Six patients died of primary infection, probably acquired from the donor organ. Recipients negative for CMV antibody who received an organ from an antibody positive donor had the most severe disease. Heart and lung transplant recipients experienced more severe primary CMV infection than those in whom the heart alone was transplanted. The most sensitive and rapid serological method was a mu-capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detecting CMV specific IgM, the amount of which was often of prognostic value and influenced the management of patients.
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