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H1N1 Can Be Particular Threat to Transplant Recipients

Cardiothoracic surgeons need to be vigilant for signs of the virus in patients

MONDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiothoracic surgeons should be vigilant for signs of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus among their patients as the flu season approaches, and aggressively treat any cases, according to an article published online Oct. 26 in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Lara A. Danziger-Isakov, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, and colleagues write that preventive measures need to be put in place to reduce the risk of infection with 2009 H1N1 flu in both transplant patients and health care workers involved in transplant surgery, and potential donors should be screened for the disease before organs are procured.

Any cases should be detected as early as possible and aggressively treated, the scientists note, and they provide specific guidelines on dosing of antivirals and background immunosuppression management, as well as evaluation and management of post-surgical transplant patients and the use of vaccines.

"Improved diagnostic testing with shorter turn around times are [sic] needed in donor evaluation. Individual patient education, prevention measures and treatment strategies will also require attention to the local patterns of infection, availability of the novel 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus vaccination, and emerging patterns of antiviral resistance," the authors write. "Finally, efforts to contain and prevent the novel 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus from spreading within the cardiothoracic transplant setting can be accomplished through infection control measures."

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