Pretransplant CD4 Count Influences Immune Reconstitution and Risk of Infectious Complications in Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Infected Kidney Allograft Recipients

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In current practice, human immunodeficiency virus–infected (HIV+) candidates with CD4 >200 cells/mm3 are eligible for kidney transplantation; however, the optimal pretransplant CD4 count above this threshold remains to be defined. We evaluated clinical outcomes in patients with baseline CD4 >350 and <350 cells/mm3 among 38 anti–thymocyte globulin (ATG)–treated HIV-negative to HIV+ kidney transplants performed at our center between 2006 and 2013. Median follow-up was 2.6 years. Rates of acute rejection and patient and graft survival were not different between groups. Occurrence of severe CD4 lymphopenia (<200 cells/mm3), however, was more common among patients with a baseline CD4 count 200–349 cells/mm3 compared with those transplanted at higher counts (75% vs. 30% at 4 weeks [p = 0.04] and 71% vs. 5% at 52 weeks [p = 0.001], respectively, after transplant). After adjusting for age, baseline CD4 count of 200–349 cells/mm3 was an independent predictor of severe CD4 lymphopenia at 4 weeks (relative risk [RR] 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3–5.1) and 52 weeks (RR 14.3; 95% CI 2–100.4) after transplant. Patients with CD4 <200 cells/mm3 at 4 weeks had higher probability of serious infections during first 6 months after transplant (19% vs. 50%; log-rank p = 0.05). These findings suggest that ATG must be used with caution in HIV+ kidney allograft recipients with a pretransplant CD4 count <350 cells/mm3.In this single-center retrospective cohort study, the authors show that anti-thymocyte globulin–treated HIV-positive kidney transplant recipients with a baseline CD4 count <350 cells/mm3 have a higher risk of severe lymphopenia (CD4 <200 cells/mm3), and associated nonopportunistic infections.

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