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Brain abscess in solid organ transplant recipients receiving cyclosporine-based immunosuppression

Selby, R and Ramirez, CB and Singh, R and Kleopoulos, I and Kusne, S and Starzl, TE and Fung, J (1997) Brain abscess in solid organ transplant recipients receiving cyclosporine-based immunosuppression. Archives of Surgery, 132 (3). 304 - 310. ISSN 0004-0010

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Objective: To determine the incidence, clinical presentation, and outcome and confounding factors associated with the development of a brain abscess in solid organ transplant recipients. Design: A 14-year retrospective survey. Setting: A single, multiorgan, academic transplantation center. Patients: A total of 2380 liver transplant recipients, 1650 kidney transplant recipients, and 598 heart, heart-lung, or lung transplant recipients of all ages (pediatric and adult) were included. All patients were given cyclosporine-based immunosuppression during this period. Main Outcome Measure: A brain abscess was determined to be present if there was histological and/or microbiological confirmation of a brain lesion seen by a computed tomographic scan. A brain abscess was considered suspicious if radiographic findings were seen in the clinical setting of neurologic symptoms and fever without histological or microbiological confirmation. Results: A brain abscess developed in a total of 28 patients (0.61%) of the total study population. The frequency of brain abscess according to organ type was as follows: 0.63%, liver; 0.36%, kidney; and 1.17%, heart and heart- lung. The overall mortality was 86%. Complicating factors associated with fungal (Candida and Aspergillus sp) abscess formation included major subsequent operations, retransplantations, antirejection therapy, associated bacteremia or viremia, and multiorgan failure. The lung was the primary site of dissemination in 18 patients. Low-dose prophylactic amphotericin was ineffective in preventing a fungal brain abscess in 10 high-risk patients. Because of the ineffective therapy and the deadly nature of established fungal abscesses, full-dose antifungal therapy and reduced immunosuppression were warranted on identification of a high-risk clinical setting. Nonfungal abscesses (Nocardia and Toxoplasma sp) occurred in healthy graft recipients long after transplantation. The existing medical therapy is usually effective in these patients, provided that rapid tissue diagnosis is established. Conclusions: The epidemiological features of brain abscess formation after solid organ transplantation suggest 2 populations of patients exist that differ in timing, clinical setting, and response to therapy. For the chronically immunosuppressed outpatient, an established abscess should be empirically treated with sulfonamides until tissue diagnosis is confirmed. On the other hand, the acutely immunosuppressed posttransplant recipient, with defined risk factors, should receive full-dose therapy with amphotericin B and concomitantly lowered immunosuppression.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Selby, R
Ramirez, CB
Singh, R
Kleopoulos, I
Kusne, S
Starzl, TEtes11@pitt.eduTES11
Fung, J
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute
Date: 1 January 1997
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Archives of Surgery
Volume: 132
Number: 3
Page Range: 304 - 310
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430270090019
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0004-0010
Other ID: uls-drl:31735062127018, Starzl CV No. 1979
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2010 17:33
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 13:56


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