Background. The 2009 novel influenza A/H1N1 virus pandemic did not spare solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients. We aimed to describe the behavior of pandemic influenza infection in a group of SOT recipients in Argentina.
Methods. Data from 10 transplant (Tx) centers were retrospectively collected for SOT that presented with a respiratory illness compatible with pandemic influenza A infection, between May and September 2009. Cases were defined as suspected, probable, or confirmed according to diagnostic method.
Results. Seventy-seven cases were included. No significant differences in presenting symptoms, pulmonary infiltrates, and graft involvement were found among 35 suspected, 19 probable, and 23 confirmed cases. The 33 ambulatory cases had significantly more sore throat and headache when compared with 34 cases admitted to medical ward (MW) and 10 admitted to intensive care unit (ICU), 9 of whom required ventilatory support. MW and ICU cases had significantly more dyspnea, hypoxemia, pulmonary infiltrates, and graft dysfunction. Time from onset of symptoms to first visit and to treatment was significantly longer in MW and ICU cases (P=0.008). Coinfections were found in six cases. Most cases received oseltamivir for 5 to 10 days. Six patients (7.8%) died from viral infection at a median of 15 days from admission. No differences in outcome were seen related to the transplanted organ, the immunosuppressive regimen, time from Tx, or confirmation of diagnosis.
Conclusions. Mortality is higher in Tx recipients than in the general population. Poor outcome seems to be related to a delay in the beginning of treatment.