Opinion: call for ciHHV6 screening in transplantion

Cardiologist Bibhuti Das, MD from Southwestern Medical Center and Infectious Disease specialist Flor Munoz, MD from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas propose that ciHHV6 status of donors and recipients be determined before solid organ transplantion using a single pre-transplant qPCR test on whole blood, and that patients with ciHHV-6 or ciHHV-6 donors be carefully monitored for signs of active HHV-6 infection.

The authors note that although the failure rate of ciHHV6+ organs has not been studied, there is a “strong common-sense argument” for ciHHV-6 screening in solid organ transplants because (a) inherited ciHHV-6 can activated under conditions of immunosuppression and (b) patients who receive ciHHV-6 organs may require antiviral prophylaxis or pre-emptive treatment and (c) ciHHV6 status can create confusion because physicians may interpret HHV-6 DNA from an affected patient as active infection and administer unnecessary antiviral medications.

They also suggest that precautions with high dose steroids may be appropriate for ciHHV6 patients.

Read the full opinion: Das 2017