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About the Transplant Infectious Disease and Immunocompromised Host Program 

Patients undergoing transplant surgery are more prone to developing infections, most commonly as a result of the anti-organ rejection medications that are designed to suppress the immune system for a period of time after surgery. Part of the largest Transplant Center in New England, the Transplant Infectious Disease team at Massachusetts General Hospital is an international leader in developing programs to reduce transplant patients’ risk for such infections. The same physicians providing care to patients are also the ones leading transformative research to improve infectious disease prevention and treatment protocols for patients undergoing transplant surgery around the world.

The Infectious Disease Management and Immunocompromised Transplant Program at Mass General provides pre- and post-transplant infectious disease management to patients who are undergoing transplant surgery to either receive or donate:

  • A solid organ (kidney, heart, liver, pancreas and lung)
  • Bone marrow or stem cells

What to Expect

Patients preparing for transplant surgery at Mass General can feel confident that they will receive care from a world-class team that is specialized in preventing and treating transplant-related infections.

Through the Infectious Disease Management and Immunocompromised Transplant Program, patients will receive:

  • Subspecialty, multidisciplinary expertise in the evaluation, prevention and treatment of transplant-related infectious diseases
  • Individually designed strategies for disease prevention such as pre- and post-transplant vaccination
  • Transplant patient education such as return-to-home, hygiene and travel advice
  • Coordinated interventions to monitor and direct the appropriate use of medicines that prevent fungal infections
  • A dedicated approach to administering antibiotics and immunologic tools if post-transplant infection is detected

Leaders in Infectious Disease Research

The same providers that are caring for our patients are also at the bench pioneering groundbreaking research that aims to improve infectious disease prevention and management for transplant recipients and donors.

Mass General transplant infectious disease management specialists lead the advancement of antimicrobial and immunosuppressive protocols in both clinical care and clinical trials. The team holds six National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported investigations of fundamental mechanisms of disease and translational studies.

They collaborate with basic and clinical research scientists to study:

  • The biology of B and T cells—the cells that produce antibodies that protect against invading viruses (B cells) and the cells that direct the antibodies and produce other biological substances in the immune system (T cells)
  • Organ repair and regeneration—repairing damaged organs with other materials to support healthy function
  • Bone marrow transplantation—transfusing healthy, donated bone marrow cells in order to replace unhealthy bone marrow
  • Xenotransplantation—receiving a cell, tissue or organ transplant from a nonhuman animal source
  • Pre-clinical models of tolerance induction for clinical use

Our team will provide more information to you about opportunities for you to participate in active clinical trials.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make an appointment with the Transplant Infectious Disease team?

Your transplant care team will refer you to this program, if they feel it’s an appropriate step for your care. To refer a patient, please call 617-726-3906.

Why do infections happen after transplant surgery?

After surgery, your doctor will prescribe medications that prevent your body’s normal immune system from attacking your new organ. As a result, you are more susceptible to developing infections that would have otherwise been avoided had your immune system not been impaired. The risk of infection can depend on the type of transplant surgery that you are having and the type of immune suppression drugs you receive.

How will you prevent infection after transplant surgery?

Our highly trained and specialized team takes many steps to prevent infections including close observation throughout your entire transplant journey, pre- and post-transplant vaccinations, and prescription of antibiotics. We also provide patients with education and resources to help them navigate their lives safely when they return home from the hospital, which is a particularly critical time given the intensity of the immunosuppressive medications. These resources include recommendations for traveling, socializing and maintaining personal hygiene.

If infection does occur, close observation allows for us to detect and treat it early—before it progresses. We treat infection through a variety of ways including antibiotics and immunologic tools.