Prevalence of cytomegalovirus disease in kidney transplant patients in an intensive care unit

ABSTRACT Objectives: To define the frequency of cytomegalovirus disease among kidney transplant patients in an intensive care unit in which this complication was suspected and to identify predisposing factors and their possible impact on clinical outcome. Methods: Retrospective observational study in which kidney transplant patients over the age of 18 years were hospitalized for any reason in an intensive care unit with at least one collection of samples to test for the presence of antigenemia or cytomegalovirus via polymerase chain reaction during hospitalization. Cytomegalovirus disease was defined as positive antigenemia or polymerase chain reaction above 500 copies/mL in the presence of symptoms and in the appropriate clinical setting, as judged by the attending physician. Results: A total of 99 patients were included (age: 53.4 ± 12.8 years, 71.6% male). Cytomegalovirus disease was diagnosed in 39 patients (39.4%). Respiratory symptoms (51%), non-specific clinical worsening (20%) or gastrointestinal symptoms (14%) were the main reasons for exam collection. Transplant time was lower in those with cytomegalovirus disease than in those without this diagnosis (6.5 months and 31.2 months, p = 0.001), along with pulse therapy in the last 6 months (41% and 16.9%, p = 0.008) and previous use of thymoglobulin in the last year (35.9% and 6.8%, p < 0.001). In the logistic regression model, only the transplant time and the use of thymoglobulin were associated with a higher frequency of cytomegalovirus. There was no difference in clinical evolution between patients with and without cytomegalovirus disease. Conclusion: In kidney transplant patients suspected of cytomegalovirus disease, the prevalence was high. Transplant time less than 6 months, and the use of thymoglobulin in the last year should increase the intensivist's suspicion for this complication.