Therapeutic plasma exchange reduces ABO titers to permit ABO-incompatible renal transplantation

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Thousands of patients with chronic renal failure die yearly without a kidney transplant due to the severe shortage of donors. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is performed to permit ABO-incompatible (ABO-I) kidney transplants, but little is known about how well TPE reduces ABO antibodies or complications related to TPE in this clinical setting.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

This retrospective study evaluated 46 individuals that received TPE to permit ABO-I kidney transplant. The number of TPE treatments was based on a goal ABO titer at the anti-human globulin (AHG) phase of 16 or less before surgery.

RESULTS:

Before TPE, the median titer of recipient was 32 (range, 2-128) at room temperature (RT) phase and 64 (range, 4-1024) at AHG phase. The first TPE reduced the total agglutination reactivity score at AHG phase by 10.2 percent. Before transplantation, there was a mean of 6.2 ± 2.5 TPE treatments and total agglutination reactivity score at AHG phase was reduced by 53.5 percent. The median titer remained reduced at 3 to 6 months after transplantation at 4 (range, 0-64) at RT phase and 8 (range, 1-64) at AHG phase. TPE complications were minimal. During at least one procedure, 15 (32.6%) individuals had either urticaria or pruritis, 18 (39.1%) individuals experienced mild citrate-induced hypocalcemia, 5 (10.2%) individuals had hypotension, 6 (13.0%) individuals had nausea or vomiting, and 1 (2.2%) individual had West Nile virus encephalitis.

CONCLUSIONS:

With current infectious disease blood screening protocols, TPE has minimal complications and can reduce ABO antibody titers to permit ABO-I renal transplantation.

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