We report a case of a 64-year-old woman who developed transfusion-dependent anemia after cardiac transplantation, the etiology of which was unknown after initial comprehensive evaluation. At the suggestion of the Transplant Infectious Diseases consultant, microbial agents with red blood cell tropism pertinent to this patient such as Parvovirus B 19 (B19V) were investigated. The B19V viral load by PCR in peripheral blood was >100,000,000 copies/ml and after treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), her anemia resolved. Here, we summarize the clinical and virologic characteristics, treatment, and outcome of fifteen cases of B19V-induced anemia in heart transplant recipients. Spontaneous recovery from anemia secondary to B19V has also been reported in some heart transplant recipients, possibly due to an absence of their B19V P-antigen receptor and/or reduction of their immunosuppression. Therefore, in heart transplant patients, B19V should be suspected early as a cause of severe anemia of unknown etiology. The extent that B19V-induced anemia is underdiagnosed in heart transplant recipients is unknown. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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