Background. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of adenoviral infection in pediatric small bowel transplantation (SBT) recipients, examine risk factors for progression to histologic disease, and examine the impact of adenovirus on outcome. Methods. Beginning in July 2000, all SBT recipients had viral cultures for adenovirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV) obtained routinely during graft biopsies. The medical records were retrospectively reviewed for frequency and site of viral culture, types and doses of immunosuppressive drugs, episodes of rejection, histology of allograft biopsies, and other infections. Adenoviral isolates were typed by polymerase chain reaction and type-specific neutralization assays. Results. All 14 SBT recipients who met enrollment criteria had evidence of adenoviral infection (intestinal graft, 13; liver graft, 1). Eight of 14 developed histologic disease with identifiable adenoviral intranuclear inclusions. In contrast, CMV enteritis was identified in only one patient, who subsequently also developed adenoviral disease. No other viruses were detected. Adenoviral cultures were first positive within 30 days of transplant in nine. Patients with histologic disease were more likely than those without to have received intensive corticosteroid therapy (P<0.007), had virus isolated from more than one site (P=0.03), and had persistent positive cultures (P<0.01). Conclusions. Adenovirus was commonly isolated from children undergoing intestinal transplantation. Progression to disease may be associated with more intensive immunosuppressive therapy and inability to clear virus.
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