Background. Bacterial infections cause significant morbidity and mortality in cardiac transplant patients. Because Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most prominent bacterial pathogen of childhood, the objective of this study was to define the role of S. pneumoniae as a pathogen in the cardiac transplant population. Methods. Medical records of cardiac transplant patients from March, 1990, through November, 2000, were reviewed to identify invasive pneumococcal infections after transplantation. Demographic, clinical and microbiologic data were reviewed. Results. Nine (11%) of 80 patients had 12 episodes of pneumococcal bacteremia for an incidence rate of 39 cases/1000 patient years. Patients who were African-American, transplanted before 2 years of age and transplanted because of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy were at increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (P < 0.05). Six patients were eligible for the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine before their first invasive infection, but only 1 had received it at the recommended age. Most isolates (82%) were penicillin-susceptible, and no single serotype predominated. There were 2 deaths in the study group, but each was unrelated to infection. Three patients (33%) had recurrent invasive disease with a second serotype an average of 12 months after the first infection. Conclusions. The incidence of pneumococcal bacteremia in cardiac transplant patients is higher than in the general pediatric population. Risks for infection were being African-American, being younger than 2 years at the time of transplant and being transplanted because of idiopathic cardiomyopathy. It is plausible that pneumococcal vaccine would decrease this risk.
- Cardiac transplant
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Microbiology (medical)