A retrospective review was undertaken to determine the clinical features, outcome, and impact on survival of nontuberculous mycobacterial infections in 14 (of 502) heart transplant recipients. The prevalence of these infections was significantly higher (p less than 0.05) during the precyclosporine than during the cyclosporine era. The mean interval from transplantation to diagnosis was 3.5 +/- 0.7 years (+/- SEM). The 14 patients had a higher (p less than 0.05) linearized rejection rate than did other transplant patients during postoperative years 1, 2, and 4 to 6, and had received 7.3 +/- 2 gm of methylprednisolone as bolus treatment of rejection before diagnosis. Eight patients were initially seen with disseminated disease, four had localized pulmonary infection, one had subcutaneous infection in the previous site of a left ventricular assist device, and in one the organism was cultured from a fluid collection adjacent to a hip prosthesis. Twelve patients were first given 3 +/- 1 antimycobacterial drugs; the infections were usually controlled, but in 75% of patients the therapeutic regimen was prematurely stopped or altered because of drug toxicity. Mycobacterial infection was a contributory cause of death in only one patient. Actuarial survival in the 14 patients was not significantly different from the entire transplant population at 4 to 7 years. We conclude that nontuberculous mycobacterial infections occur late after heart transplantation, that drug treatment is usually successful (although difficult), and that long-term survival is not adversely affected if the infection is successfully controlled.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DT02600006
View details for PubMedID 2398429