Background. Invasive fungal infection has a major impact on the morbidity and mortality of liver transplant recipients. Human herpesvirus (HHV)-6 infection after transplantation is associated with an immunosuppressive state and the development of cytomegalovirus disease. Because cytomegalovirus infection is a risk factor for invasive fungal infection after transplantation, we have examined whether HHV-6 and fungal infection are associated after transplantation. Methods. Pretransplantation sera from 247 consecutive liver transplant recipients were analyzed for IgG to HHV-6. Thirty-three (13%) HHV-6-seronegative recipients were identified. Six of 33 (18%) seronegative recipients experienced fungal infection as compared with 15 of 214 (7%) seropositive recipients (P=0.034). Results. In a univariate analysis of risk factors for fungal infection, pretransplantation seronegativity to HHV-6 (P=0.034), intraoperative cryoprecipitate requirements greater than the 75th percentile (P=0.035), reoperation (P=0.005), biliary stricturing postoperatively (P=0.046), and gastrointestinal or vascular complications postoperatively (P=0.030) were identified as significant risk factors. Moreover, in pairwise multivariate analysis, pretransplantation HHV-6 seronegativity remained a significant variable even in the presence of each of the other variables. Conclusions. These results suggest that HHV-6 seronegativity before transplantation is a valuable clinical marker that identifies patients at risk for developing fungal infection after transplantation.
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