Subclinical CMV viremia is associated with increased nosocomial infections and prolonged hospitalization in patients with systemic autoimmune diseases

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Journal of clinical virology


OBJECTIVE: Subclinical cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia has been associated with other infections, prolonged hospitalization, and mortality in select immunosuppressed populations. We examined the incidence and outcomes of subclinical CMV viremia in hospitalized patients with systemic autoimmune diseases (AD) [systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis (AAV)] using a highly sensitive CMV assay.

METHODS: Prospectively collected samples were obtained from AD hospitalized patients at study entry with a second sample collected 1 week later or at hospital discharge. Controls included age- and gender- matched inpatients without AD and outpatients with AD. All samples were tested in batch using the Abbott RealTime CMV for investigational use assay (RT assay), with a LLOD (LLOQ) at 21 IU/mL (32 IU/mL).

RESULTS: Twenty-three inpatients (10 SLE, 8 AAV, 5 controls), and 31 outpatient controls were recruited. Subclinical CMV viremia was found in 61% (11/18) of inpatient AD subjects, 3% (1/31) of outpatient AD subjects, and in none of the five inpatient controls (p < 0.001). CMV viremia was associated with increased median length of ICU stay (13 vs. 4 days, p = 0.033), hospital stay (17 vs. 9 days, p = 0.014) and increased nosocomial infections (7 vs. 1, p = 0.007). CMV viremia was not associated with overall severity of illness nor with disease-specific activity or damage.

CONCLUSION: Over one-half of hospitalized AD patients in our cohort had detectable CMV viremia, which was associated with increased length of hospital stay and nosocomial infections. These data suggest that further study of the immunomodulatory effects of subclinical CMV viremia in AD is warranted.

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ePub ahead of print



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