Challenges and Clinical Implications of the Diagnosis of Cytomegalovirus Lung Infection in Children.


Division of Pediatric Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. Children's National Medical Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Pulmonary cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a potential lethal disease in children, but it remains a diagnostic challenge. The differentiation between latent CMV infections with viral shedding and active infections is difficult and may lead to false positives in bronchoalvolar lavage (BAL) PCR detection. This review summarizes current diagnostic approaches for CMV lung infection in children including progress in the identification of underlying immune defects linked to this condition.
RESULTS : There is increasing literature supporting that the combined assessment of host risk factors and lung disease pattern is essential for the diagnosis of pulmonary CMV infection in children. The most important host risk factor is an immunecompromised state that has expanded from primary or acquired immunodeficiency (e.g., HIV) to include a myriad of immune-dysregulation syndromes (e.g., CTLA4, PIK3 defects). Newborns, paricularly those born premature, are also a high-risk group. At the pulmonary level, active CMV infection is typically characterized by alveolar compromise leading to hypoxemia, ground-glass opacities, and intra-alveolar infiltrates with CMV inclusions in lung biopsy. The identification of active CMV lung infection should trigger additional evaluation of immune defects (primary or secondary) impairing T and NK cell function or innate antiviral responses as well as other immune dysregulation disorders. Lung CMV infections in children are more prevalent in immunocompromised hosts and premature newborns. Lung CMV infections should prompt further investigation into conditions altering immune mechanisms usually in place to contain CMV infections. Common clinical and radiological patterns such as hypoxemia and ground-glass pulmonary opacities may allow early identification and treatment of CMV lung infection and underlying causes in the pediatric population.


CMV,Children,Immune-dysregulation syndromes,Immunodeficiencies,Lung infection,Pneumonitis,