Antithymocyte gamma globulin, low-dosage cyclosporine, and tapering steroids as an immunosuppressive regimen to avoid early kidney failure in heart transplantation.
Cyclosporine is a powerful immunosuppressive agent that unfortunately has significant renal toxicity. Two risk factors associated with a high incidence of kidney failure in patients receiving cyclosporine have been described in the literature. In an effort to decrease the possibility of renal toxicity with the use of cyclosporine, we use low-dosage cyclosporine, antithymocyte gamma globulin, and tapering dosages of steroids as an immunosuppressive regimen. Twenty-one patients had orthotopic heart transplants from January 1985 to January 1986. Sixteen of 21 patients or 70% had at least one high risk factor for kidney failure. There were no episodes of acute kidney failure, and the blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels that were recorded over an average of 8.5 months per patient did not increase significantly from preoperative values. Seventeen of 21 or 81% of the patients are alive and functioning fully. The incidence of rejection per patient was 0.9, and there were no biopsy-proven severe rejections. One patient died at 5 months; the autopsy showed generalized moderate rejection. There were 0.24 episodes of infection per patient, with one patient who died from Pneumocystis pneumonia. With this immunosuppression protocol, early postoperative kidney dysfunction was avoided. The incidences of rejection and infection were within acceptable range, and the quality of life in the 17 survivors is excellent.
Published In/Presented At
Deeb, G. M., Kolff, J., McClurken, J. B., Dunn, J., Balsara, R., Ochs, R., Badellino, M., Hollander, T., Eldridge, C., & Clancey, M. (1987). Antithymocyte gamma globulin, low-dosage cyclosporine, and tapering steroids as an immunosuppressive regimen to avoid early kidney failure in heart transplantation. The Journal of heart transplantation, 6(2), 79–83.
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Surgery