Herpes Zoster After Lung Transplantation: Incidence, Timing, and Outcome

Leonardo Fuks, David Shitrit, Benjamin D. Fox, Anat Amital, Yael Raviv, Ilana Bakal, Mordechai R. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Although herpes zoster is a common complication of lung transplantation, the epidemiologic data are limited. The aims of the present study were to determine the incidence and clinical manifestations of herpes zoster in a large cohort of lung transplant recipients and to identify risk factors associated with its development. Methods: The files of all adult patients who underwent lung transplantation at a major tertiary medical center from January 2001 to December 2007 were reviewed. Data were extracted on background, transplant-related, and posttransplantation factors. The occurrence and clinical characteristics of all episodes of herpes zoster were recorded. Results: Of the 198 lung transplant recipients, 23 had a herpes zoster infection, of whom 18 had herpes in a single dermatome. Disseminated cutaneous infection was documented in 4 cases (17%) and visceral involvement in 1. The median duration of follow-up was 34 months (range, 1 to 85 months). There were no recurrent infections. Postherpetic neuralgia was detected in 26% of cases. Antiviral prophylaxis, primarily for cytomegalovirus, was effective (during treatment) against herpes zoster. The incidence of herpes zoster was higher in patients treated with rabbit antithymocyte globulin. Conclusions: The occurrence of herpes zoster peaks between 12 and 36 months after lung transplantation. Additional immunosuppression may increase the risk. Further studies on preventive strategies against herpes zoster in this population are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-426
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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