Central nervous system infections rare but devastating following heart transplantation

Oct 08, 2007

Central nervous system infections develop infrequently following heart transplants but are a significant predictor of death, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the December 2007 print issue of Archives of Neurology.

In the past 10 years, approximately 24,000 Americans have undergone heart transplantation, according to background information in the article. Improvements in surgical techniques and immunosuppressive medications have resulted in increased survival rates for transplant recipients.

Diederik van de Beek, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, studied 315 consecutive patients who underwent heart transplants there from January 1988 through June 2006. Data were gathered from the clinic databases, electronic and paper medical records, laboratory records and cranial imaging tests.

Eight patients (3 percent) developed central nervous system infections, all within four years after transplantation. The most common symptoms were confusion or headache (88 percent), often without the classic signs of fever and neck stiffness. Three of the eight patients died (38 percent), and two (25 percent) survived with mild complications.

Three patients developed cryptococcal meningitis, two had progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, two had varicella-zoster virus encephalitis, and one had Aspergillus fumigatus infection. “Varicella-zoster virus encephalitis has not been previously reported in heart transplant recipients, to our knowledge, but has been described in patients after bone marrow transplantation or in patients with HIV infection,” the authors write. “Whether varicella-zoster virus encephalitis is emerging in other transplant populations should be a subject of further research.”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Researchers monitor for next novel influenza strain

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows troubling rise in use of animals in experiments

4 hours ago

Despite industry claims of reduced animal use as well as federal laws and policies aimed at reducing the use of animals, the number of animals used in leading U.S. laboratories increased a staggering 73 percent from 1997 ...

NY surveying banks on cyber security defenses

7 hours ago

(AP)—New York financial regulators are considering tougher cyber security requirements for banks to mandate more complex computer sign-ins and certifications from the contractors of their cyber defenses, the state's top ...

Life-saving train design is rarely used

7 hours ago

(AP)—Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that ...

Climate change may flatten famed surfing waves

8 hours ago

On a summer day in 1885, three Hawaiian princes surfed at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on crudely constructed boards made from coastal redwoods, bringing the sport to the North American mainland.

Recommended for you

UTMB collaboration results in rapid Ebola test

8 hours ago

University of Texas Medical Branch researchers who helped assess the effectiveness of a new rapid test kit to diagnose Ebola learned this week it has received emergency use authorization from the Food and ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.