Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis via lung transplantation

Kevin L. Winthrop, Bernard M. Kubak, David A. Pegues, Catherine Hufana, Pam Costamagna, Ed Desmond, Cynthia Sanders, Paul Shen, Laura Flores-Ibarra, Eugene Osborne, David Bruckner, Jennifer Flood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Organ donors are not routinely screened for tuberculosis (TB) in the United States. We investigated a case of pulmonary TB in a double-lung transplant recipient. We reviewed the donor's and recipient's records, and used molecular methods to compare the lung recipient's isolate with others from three sources: her hospital, the California state health department's genotyping database, and the donor's resident-nation of Guatemala. A respiratory specimen obtained from the lung recipient 1 day after transplantation grew Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Donor chest radiograph had a previously unnoticed pulmonary opacity that was present on post-transplant recipient chest radiographs and computed tomographs. The recipient's isolate was molecularly distinct from others at her hospital and in the state database, but was identical to two isolates from Guatemala. Tuberculosis was transmitted from lung donor to recipient. As organ transplantation becomes more common worldwide, similar cases could occur. Screening for TB in potential organ donors should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1529-1533
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Allograft
  • Mycobacteria
  • Organ transplantation
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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