Intravenous Iloprost: A New Therapeutic Option for Patients with Post-Transplant Distal Limb Syndrome (PTDLS)

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the application of intravenous iloprost as a novel therapy for the treatment of post-transplant distal limb syndrome (PTDLS). PTDLS is a benign but disabling complication in the first year after renal transplantation. It is characterized by bilateral, often incapacitating pain in the feet and or knees on motion and a significant rise in alkaline phosphatase levels on laboratory evaluation. On MRI, bone marrow edema of the affected bone regions can be demonstrated. PTDLS differs from steroid induced osteonecrosis of the hip in terms of localization, an average cumulative steroid dosage within expected limits, and a benign outcome, as PTDLS does not progress to overt cell necrosis. From August 2003 to April 2005 we treated 10 patients with MRI-proven diagnosis of PTDLS following a standardized regimen of intravenous iloprost over 5 days. Iloprost led to prompt pain relief measured on a visual analogous scale (VAS) ranging from 1 to 10 (5.6 ± 1.5 before vs. 2.1 ± 1.3 after treatment, p = 0.0004). PTDLS represents a benign but disabling complication following renal transplantation. Intravenous iloprost might be a promising therapeutic concept leading to a quick relief of symptoms without relevant side effects.

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