Pediatr Infect Vaccine.  2017 Apr;24(1):44-53. 10.14776/piv.2017.24.1.44.

Clinical Utility of Epstein-Barr Viral Load Assay to Diagnose Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders in Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, the Republic of Korea.


The aim of this study was to investigate the risk factors for posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) and to evaluate the association between Epstein-Barr viral load and the development of PTLD in pediatric heart transplant recipients.
We reviewed children aged <18 years who underwent heart transplantation and quantitative analysis of blood Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) viremia at our institute from January 2006 to March 2015. Clinical characteristics and EBV viral loads were compared according to the presence of PTLD.
Over 9 consecutive years, a total of 40 heart transplant recipients, were included. Among 28 children with available EBV viral load measurements, seven patients (25%) had EBV viremia only defined as at least one time of ≥457 copies/mL. PTLD occurred in three recipients (7.5%) 4.3, 6.3, and 17.0 months after transplant and all PTLD cases had preceding EBV viremia. The median age at transplant was 5.3 years (range, 0.5 to 6.0 years) in the PTLD group, compared with 11.9 years (range, 0.3 to 17.8 years) in the non-PTLD group (P=0.021). The median values of the peak EBV levels in the PTLD group were 3,452,170 copies/mL (range, 46,750 to 7,622,910 copies/mL); the peak EBV levels in the non-PTLD group were 3,112 copies/mL (range, 2,250 to 103,000 copies/mL).
Younger age at transplant and presence of EBV viremia were associated with the development of PTLD in pediatric heart transplant recipients. A prospective study will be required to determine the blood EBV load for predicting the development of PTLD in these patients.


Lymphoproliferative disorders; Heart transplantation; Herpesvirus 4, human; Child
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