Virus in transplanted hearts bodes ill | Science News


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Virus in transplanted hearts bodes ill

11:16am, May 16, 2001

Researchers monitoring children who received heart transplants report that common viral infections of the implants can send these patients on a downward spiral.

Tests reveal that the viruses dont arrive with the donated organ but rather infect the recipient sometime after transplantation. Research on adult and child recipients of either a heart or a pair of lungs had hinted that when viral infections settle into a donated organ, immune rejection and other problems can result.

Jeffrey A. Towbin of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his colleagues tracked the progress of 149 heart-transplant recipients under age 18. During a series of checkups over 4 years on average, physicians threaded a flexible device tipped with a tiny scope and clipping tool through a vein to the heart. They took snippets of heart muscle for analysis.

The heart tissue of 34 children tested positive at some point during the study for at least one of six

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