During SARS-CoV2 pandemic, transplant programs had to devise strategies to deal with the possibility of COVID-19-positive donors and recipients.
In March 2022, a 60-year-old man with dilated cardiomyopathy on the transplant waitlist was admitted to our Unit as a possible donation was presented. On arrival, he tested positive for SARS-CoV2. The patient had no clinical evidence of COVID-19; he had completed the vaccination cycle; chest X-rays did not show interstitial pneumonia. Aware of the increased risk, we proceeded with the transplant. Sotrovimab, a novel anti-viral agent specific for COVID-19, was administered.
Prophylactic antibiotics were started. He received anti-thymocyte immunoglobulins 125 mg for 2 days and methylprednisolone 1 g after aortic declamping and then 125 mg TID for 2 days for induction immunosuppression. Maintaining therapy included corticosteroids and tacrolimus. On the 7th day the patient tested negative at SARS-CoV2 swab. As kidney function worsened, hemodialysis was started.
On the 17th day signs of cellulitis of the left thigh appeared, and inflammation indices (CRP, PCT) rose. A hemoculture positive for A. baumannii (MDR-AB) was obtained; hence the patient was treated with Cefiderocol and Colistine. A Cytosorb filter was added to the hemodialysis and Pentaglobin was started.
After 3 weeks, hemodynamics started to improve, inotrope support was suspended, with reduction of inflammation indices, negative hemocultures, recovering kidney function. After two weeks, the patient abruptly presented fever, marked hypotension and dyspnea. He underwent intubation, inotrope therapy, broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy, intravenous Immunoglobulins and a cycle of Polymyxin B Hemoperfusion. Nevertheless, hemodynamics decidedly failed. Chest X-rays showed bilateral pneumonia. Hemocultures were positive for MDR-AB. Leukopenia developed (WBC 0,10). Three days after the first signs of a new infective episode, the patient had died.
Notwithstanding the difficulties of SARS-CoV2 pandemic, tempestive diagnosis and treatment allow transplant programs to proceed unhindered.