Disseminated kaposi's sarcoma after heart transplantation:Association with kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus

R. Fonseca, T. E. Witzig, L. J. Olson, B. S. Edwards, A. Khoor, R. C. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Kaposi's sarcoma is an endothelial tumor rarely diagnosed after heart transplantation. We report on a patient originally from Africa in whom Kaposi's sarcoma developed in association with Kaposi's sarcoma- associated herpesvirus. Methods: A man from Ghana had constitutional symptoms associated with multiple pulmonary nodules that developed 3 months after heart transplantation. Kaposi's sarcoma was diagnosed by thorascopic biopsy. Treatment consisted of reducing immunosuppression therapy and adding famciclovir treatment. Symptoms resolved within 1 month after treatment, and no disease progression was observed for 5 months. The patient died suddenly 8 months after heart transplantation; autopsy revealed occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery and grade 3A rejection. Extensive Kaposi's sarcoma was observed in the lungs and gastrointestinal tract at autopsy. Results: Pathologic analysis of the tumor demonstrated features consistent with Kaposi's sarcoma. Polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization demonstrated the presence of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Conclusion: Kaposi's sarcoma rarely is diagnosed after transplantation. Patients infected with Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus may be at increased risk. Screening for Kaposi's sarcoma- associated herpesvirus may be indicated in patients at risk. The role of antiviral medications and immunization in the treatment and prevention of the disorder is unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)732-736
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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