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Infectious Diseases Transplant Program

The University of Utah Health has a robust series of transplant programs spanning solid organ transplant (e.g. kidney, liver, lung), bone marrow transplant (BMT), and an active living organ donor program. Saving lives every day, each of these programs and services require tremendous clinical expertise and care coordination to ensure the best possible outcomes for some of our most medically complex patients.

While surgical and procedural efforts are often seen at the forefront of transplant programs, there is a team of infectious diseases specialists that is instrumental to the success of every transplant performed at University of Utah Health.

Drs. Carlos Gomez, Kim Hanson, Hannah Imlay, Robert Odrobina and Sankar Swaminathan, collaborate daily with each individual transplant program to provide high-quality clinical care in both inpatient and outpatient settings, develop key transplant program guidelines and protocols that ensure – and even advance – standard of care while training physicians and care teams, and provide expertise in infectious disease management to minimize infection-related morbidity and mortality.

In Fiscal Year 2021 alone, this Transplant Infectious Diseases Team developed solid organ transplant protocols, procedures, and guidelines for:

  • Perioperative Prophylaxis (Liver Transplant)
  • Living Donor Screening (Living Donor Program)
  • Handling Asymptomatic Respiratory Virus Positivity Prior to Transplant (Lung Transplant)
  • BK Virus Prevention & Management (Kidney Transplant)
  • CMV Pre-Emptive Monitoring and Treatment (Abdominal SOT Programs)
  • HIV Infected Recipients (Kidney Transplant)
  • HCV Infected Donors (Liver Transplant)

In Fiscal Year 2021, this Transplant Infectious Diseases Team also supported the Huntsman Cancer Hospital (HCH) by:

  • Reviewing Daily Blood Cultures (both Antimicrobial Stewardship and Transplant-related)
  • Creating BMT Clinical Practice Guideline for Central Line Infections
  • Developing BMT/Heme Antifungal Prophylaxis and Treatment Guidelines

The Transplant Infectious Diseases Team was also at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring the safety of our immunocompromised and transplant patients by:

  • Creating Huntsman isolation and bed control guidelines (i.e. determining who to admit to HCH vs. University Hospital)
  • Defining “COVID Recovered” for Immunocompromised Hosts
  • Developing Vaccination Guidelines for HCH and SOT Programs
  • Promoting Various Testing Guidelines, including pre-chemo or immunosuppression testing guidelines, pre-SOT guidelines, guidelines for symptomatic immunocompromised patients and interpretation of serology

The Transplant Infectious Diseases Team also leads Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committees that developed guidelines around the use of:

  • RSV/Ribavirin
  • Cidofovir
  • Cytogam
  • Antifungal Drugs

This team has managed to do all this and more while balancing inpatient & outpatient clinical responsibilities, supporting the educational mission of the University through the Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program, advancing science through cutting edge virology (HIV, HSV, EBV & KSHV (HHV8), and COVID) & immunocompromised host-pathogen interaction research, and engaging in various clinical trials.

These combined efforts ensure the highest quality of care for our transplant patients and their long-term health and well-being. It takes a team to make each and every transplant at University of Utah Health a success, and the Transplant Infectious Diseases Team provides vital support to them all.