Therapeutic Apheresis Rescue Mission: Recurrent Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis in Renal Allografts

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Recurrent idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) after renal transplantation can lead to a rapid failure of the allograft. A circulating, nonimmunoglobulin factor appears to be important in the pathogenesis of this complication in many cases. Between 30% and 50% of transplant recipients with FSGS develop recurrent disease. Three major risk factors for recurrence have been identified: short duration of native kidney disease, history of recurrence with previous kidney transplant, and pediatric aged recipients. Although no properly controlled trials have been conducted, plasmapheresis has emerged as one of the important treatment modalities for this entity. Retrospective studies prior to the routine use of plasmapheresis showed graft loss rates as high as 80%, a rate much higher than that seen in more recent series managed with plasmapheresis. Duration and intensity of treatment of plasmaphersis have not been studied rigorously, but in most case series, plasmapheresis was continued until a clear diminution of proteinuria was seen. The benefit of other adjuvant therapies for this condition remains unclear, but also may play a role in the treatment of this entity.

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