Renal impairment at the time of heart transplantation complicates the choice of subsequent immunosuppressive therapy. Calcineurin (CNI)-free regimens utilizing proliferation signal inhibitors (PSI) may mitigate against nephrotoxicity in this group; however, their effectiveness remains unclear.
We present our 7-year experience with de novo CNI-free, PSI-based immunosuppression after heart transplantation. Of the 152 patients transplanted between July 1999 and July 2006, de novo immunosuppression regimens were 49 CNI-free, PSI-based, 88 CNI, 15 combination of CNI+PSI.
Pretransplant creatinine clearance improved within 6 months in the PSI group (0.69 ± 0.34 mL/s vs. 1.00 ± 0.54 mL/s, p < 0.05) but not the CNI (1.32 ± 0.54 mL/s vs. 1.36 ± 0.53 mL/s, p = ns) or CNI+PSI (1.20 ± 0.24 mL/s vs. 1.20 ± 0.41 mL/s, p = ns) groups. The PSI group had more episodes of early (≤6 months) acute rejection, bacterial or fungal infections and pleural effusions but less CMV infection (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). Early CNI addition occurred in 37% of the PSI group for acute rejection. 33% of the entire cohort changed immunosuppression regimens over 3.6 ± 2.2 years follow-up.
De novo CNI-free, PSI-based immunosuppression in patients with significant renal dysfunction allowed significant posttransplantation renal recovery but with increased early acute rejection, bacterial and fungal infections and pleural effusions.