Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology
Volume 16, Issue 6, Pages 335-341
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2005/679386
Original Article

The Role of The Cytomegalovirus Antigenemia Assay in the Detection and Prevention of Cytomegalovirus Syndrome and Disease in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients: A Review of the British Columbia Experience

Erica D Greanya,1,2 Nilufar Partovi,1,2 Eric M Yoshida,3,4 R Jean Shapiro,3,5 Robert D Levy,3,6 Chris H Sherlock,3,7 and Gwen M Stephens8

1Pharmaceutical Sciences Clinical Service Unit, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
3Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
4Liver Transplant Program, British Columbia Transplant Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
55Renal Transplant Program, British Columbia Transplant Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
6Lung Transplant Program, British Columbia Transplant Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
7Virology, British Columbia Transplant Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
8British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The pp65 cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigenemia assay has been used as a means of guiding the pre-emptive therapy of CMV disease in solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients. Recently, concerns have been raised regarding the utility of the test to accurately and precisely detect viral activity early enough to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with CMV.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the performance characteristics of the method of antigenemia testing of SOT recipients used at Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia.

METHODS: All SOT recipients between January 1, 1999, and June 30, 2000, were retrospectively reviewed for six months following transplantation. Physical examination results, laboratory parameters, antigenemia results and treatment information were reviewed.

RESULTS: A total of 134 kidney, liver, lung and kidney-pancreas transplant recipients were included in the analysis. The overall performance characteristics of the antigenemia assay in predicting CMV disease included a sensitivity of 64%, a specificity of 81%, a positive predictive value of 76% and a negative predictive value of 71%. A mean of 18 days passed between the onset of signs and symptoms of CMV disease/syndrome and the first recorded positive antigenemia result, and only 26% of patients had a positive test result before the onset of symptoms. It was found that an antigenemia test breakpoint of at least one positive cell for defining a positive test provided the most sensitive and specific prediction, with increased odds of developing CMV disease.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on performance characteristics, the Vancouver General Hospital's current method of antigenemia testing to guide pre-emptive ganciclovir therapy in SOT patients is not optimal for the early detection of disease. Further study is needed on new molecular testing methods to determine if our ability to predict CMV disease can be improved.