Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome after pediatric heart transplantation: Increased risk for children with preexisting Glenn/Fontan physiology

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Identification of risk factors for PRES after organ transplant can improve early detection and avoid permanent neurological injury. High calcineurin-inhibitor levels and hypertension are recognized risk factors for PRES in adult transplant recipients. Limited data exist regarding PRES after pediatric HTx, with studies limited to case reports. We performed a retrospective review of 128 pediatric HTx recipients to identify risk factors for PRES. Seven of 128 (5.5%) recipients developed PRES at a median of 10 days (5–57) after HTx. The median age of recipients with PRES was 10.0 yr (5.7–19.0), compared to 1.4 yr (0.0–19.8) for recipients without PRES (p = 0.010). Fewer than half of recipients with PRES had elevated post-transplant calcineurin-inhibitor levels (n = 3) and/or preceding severe hypertension (n = 3). Four of seven who developed PRES (57%) had pretransplant Glenn or Fontan physiology (G/F). G/F was a significant risk factor for PRES (RR 4.99, 95% CI: 1.19–21.0, p = 0.036). Two recipients (29%), both with severe PRES, had residual neurological symptoms. In summary, PRES occurred in 5.5% of pediatric HTx recipients and presented early after HTx. All recipients with PRES were > 5 yr. Patients with pretransplant G/F were at increased risk, a risks factor not previously described.

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