Background: To reduce the mortality rate associated with liver transplantation, it is important to identify the risk factors for increased mortality among liver transplant recipients. It has been suggested that cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is one such risk factor, but no studies have examined mortality rates associated with the CMV serologic status of the donor and recipient by using multivariate techniques.
Objective: To study the effect of CMV on 1-year mortality rates in orthotopic liver transplant recipients.
Design: Intention-to-treat analysis of a cohort.
Patients: 146 liver transplant recipients who were enrolled in a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, intervention trial.
Setting: Four university-affiliated transplantation centers.
Results: 1-year mortality rates for the four strata of donor and recipient CMV serologic status before transplantation were as follows: seronegative donor and recipient, 11%; seronegative donor and seropositive recipient, 22%; seropositive donor and recipient, 30%; and seropositive donor and seronegative recipient, 44% (P = 0.0091). Multivariate analysis using a time-dependent Cox proportional-hazards model showed that retransplantation (relative risk, 4.6 [95% CI, 1.9 to 10.7]; P < 0.001); total number of units of blood products administered during transplantation (relative risk, 1.006 per unit [CI, 1.003 to 1.010]; P < 0.001); and presence of CMV disease (relative risk, 3.9 [CI, 1.8 to 8.5]; P < 0.001), invasive fungal disease (relative risk, 3.3 [CI, 1.5 to 7.1]; P = 0.0020), and bacteremia (relative risk, 2.5 [CI, 1.2 to 5.2]; P = 0.0136) were independently associated with higher mortality rates. If post-transplantation variables that were highly correlated with donor and recipient CMV serologic status were restricted from the model, donor and recipient CMV serologic status was the only pretransplantation variable independently associated with higher mortality rates (P = 0.002).
Conclusion: Donor and recipient CMV serologic status is a significant pretransplantation determinant for death in liver transplant recipients.