PREVENTION OF REJECTION AND GRAFT LOSS WITH AN AGGRESSIVE QUADRUPLE IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE THERAPY REGIMEN IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

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Abstract

During the two-year period May 1991 to April 1993, 36 kidney transplants were performed in children less than 18 years of age at California Pacific Medical Center using an aggressive quadruple-therapy regimen of immunosuppression. The regimen consisted of induction with an antilymphocyte preparation (MALG in 21, OKT3 in 2, ATGAM in 12, none in 1), initial moderatedose steroid therapy, early intravenous cyclosporine therapy, and azathioprine. Twenty living-related graft recipients were pretreated with donor-specific transfusions. Long-term cyclosporine was dosed by levels to keep trough whole-blood levels (RIA) at 200–300 ng/ml. Twenty-five grafts were from living-related donors, two from living unrelated donors, and nine from cadaveric donors. Eleven (30%) recipients were five years old or under at the time of transplantation. Of these recipients 44% had complex congenital urologic disease and required urologic surgery prior to or at the time of transplantation. Patients have been followed for a mean of one year, with actual patient and graft survivals of 100% and 97%, respectively. Only one graft has been lost, to severe, early recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Four of the 36 patients have had one rejection episode each, all reversed completely. Graft function is stable, with serum creatinine proportionate to age—mean serum creatinine in the children under two years old being 0.4 mg/dl, and in the adolescents 1.3 mg/dl, with two adolescent boys having the highest creatinine levels at 1.8 mg/dl. We conclude that an aggressive approach to immuno-suppressive therapy in the early posttransplant period with MALG/OKT3/ATGAM induction and rapid achievement of therapeutic cyclosporine levels prevents rejection and results in excellent patient and graft survival with subsequent stable good graft function.

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