What is CMV - Pneumonia . . . Cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that usually occur in people who have a suppressed immune system.
Causes of CMV
CMV pneumonia is caused by a member of a group of herpes-type viruses. Infection with CMV is very common. Most healthy adults have antibodies (indicating previous infection) to CMV in their blood.
Usually CMV produces no symptoms, but serious CMV infections can occur in people with impaired immunity from conditions such as:
- Bone marrow transplant
- Organ transplant
- Chemotherapy or other treatments that suppress the immune system
In people who have had organ and bone marrow transplants, the risk of infection is greatest 5 - 13 weeks after the transplant.
Symptoms of CMV Pneumonia
- General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches or joint pains
- Shortness of breath
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Sweating, excessive night sweats
Low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxemia) with CMV pneumonia often predicts death, especially in patients who need mechanical ventilation.
Exams and Tests for CMV Pneumonia
Arterial blood gas
Blood tests to detect and measure substances specific to CMV infection
Bronchoscopy with biopsy
Urine culture (clean catch)
Treatment for CMV Pneumonia
The objective of treatment is to stop the virus from copying in the body through the use of antiviral drugs. Some people will need to get intravenous medication through a vein. Some people might initially need oxygen therapy and breathing support with a ventilator to maintain oxygen until the infection is brought under control.
Outlook/Prognosis for CMV Pneumonia
Antiviral medications stop the virus from copying itself, but do not destroy it. CMV itself suppresses the immune system, and may increase the risk of other infections due to the additional immunosuppression.
Possible Complications of CMV Pneumonia
Complications of CMV infection in people with AIDS include:
- CMV pneumonia
- Intestinal disease
- Infectious, mononucleosis-like illness (CMV mononucleosis)
- Inflammation of the retina (CMV retinitis)
CMV also increases the replication of HIV in people who are infected.
Complications of CMV pneumonia include:
- Kidney impairment (from drugs used to treat the condition)
- Low white blood cell count (from drugs used to treat the condition)
- Overwhelming infection that doesn't respond to treatment
- Relapse of infection
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of CMV pneumonia.
Prevention of CMV Pneumonia
The following have been shown to help prevent CMV pneumonia in certain patients:
- Using organ transplant donors who don't have CMV
- Using CMV-negative blood products for transfusion
- Using CMV-immune globulin in certain patients
Preventing AIDS avoids opportunistic diseases, including CMV, that can occur in people who have a damaged or poorly functioning immune system.