Causes and management of postrenal transplant diarrhea: an underappreciated cause of transplant-associated morbidity

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Purpose of review

This review highlights the current literature on both infectious and noninfectious diarrhea in renal transplant recipients and provides a diagnostic algorithm for the evaluation of posttransplant diarrhea.

Recent findings

Renal transplant recipients share certain predisposing characteristics for the development of posttransplant diarrhea, including a generalized immunosuppressed state and exposure to polypharmacy, most notably broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy. The main causes of diarrhea after transplantation are infections, immunosuppressive drugs, antibiotics and other drugs. As the cause of posttransplant diarrhea varies greatly depending on several factors, recommending a single optimal diagnostic algorithm is extremely difficult.


Physicians should be familiar with common causes that result in posttransplant diarrhea. A directed approach to diagnosis and treatment will not only help to resolve diarrhea, but also prevent potentially life-threatening consequences, such as loss of the graft. Prospective studies are needed to better assess true prevalence, risk factors and complications of diarrhea by norovirus, rotavirus and adenovirus in kidney transplant patients.

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