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Cytomegalovirus pneumonia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review


BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are at increased risk of cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation, and although CMV pneumonia may be a fatal disease in IBD patients, little information is available on this issue. The objectives of this study were to identify risk factors for the development of CMV pneumonia in IBD patients and to find useful information to better manage this potentially fatal complication. METHODS: A computerized search without language restrictions was conducted using PubMed and SCOPUS. An article was considered eligible for inclusion in the systematic review if it reported detailed data on patients with IBD presenting with pneumonia due to CMV. RESULTS: Overall, 12 articles describing the history of 13 patients, published between the years 1996 and 2011, were finally considered. All patients were adults with a mean age of 33 years, and 11/13 were females. Fever and dyspnea were the most frequent symptoms. The most frequent radiological signs were bilateral pulmonary infiltrates. Six cases were complicated by hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. Eight of the 13 were transferred to intensive care units and four of them died. CONCLUSIONS: CMV pneumonia should always be suspected in IBD patients who present with fever and tachypnea, especially if the latter is worsening and/or is associated with dyspnea. Treatment must be early and specific.