Infection is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality following cardiac transplantation because of the strict immunosuppressive regimens patients follow. In the immediate postoperative phase, patients are more susceptible to infection because of interruption of their external barriers to infection. Cardiac transplant recipients are most likely to succumb to infections caused by cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus and bacterial organisms, especially staphylococcus. Fungal, protozoal and herpes simplex infections are also frequently troublesome to the transplant recipient. Critical care clinicians can control the incidence of infection in the cardiac transplant population by initiating measures to maintain external barriers, monitoring the patient for early signs of infection, and instituting appropriate isolation techniques.

You do not currently have access to this content.