Journal Article

Renal transplantation in systemic lupus erythematosus. A case control study of 45 patients.

L S Azevedo, J E Romão, D Malheiros, L B Saldanha, L E Ianhez and E Sabbaga

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Volume 13, issue 11, pages 2894-2898
Published in print November 1998 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online November 1998 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/13.11.2894
Renal transplantation in systemic lupus erythematosus. A case control study of 45 patients.

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BACKGROUND: Outcome and the issue of recurrence of disease in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) renal transplant recipients is still a matter of controversy. There is a lack of comparative studies with non-SLE patients. The aim of this paper is to compare renal transplantation in lupus patients with a similar matched non-SLE group. METHODS: Forty-five patients with systemic lupus erythematosus subjected to 48 kidney transplants were studied. For comparative purposes, a case-control population was selected, matched for gender, race, type of donor, age, and time of transplantation. Patients with non-glomerulonephritis diseases were excluded. RESULTS: No differences in acute episodes of rejection, causes of kidney loss or patient death were observed. General as well as infectious complications were similar. Pregnancy rates and outcomes were similar with no deleterious effect on patients or grafts. Actuarial 1- and 5-year patient survivals (97.7 and 91.1% for SLE and 95.4 and 87% for controls, respectively) and graft survivals (93.1 and 80.7% for SLE and 88.8 and 70.2% for controls, respectively) were similar. Long-term renal function expressed by serum creatinine was the same. No differences in immunosuppressive drug (azathioprine, prednisone, and cyclosporin) requirements were found. Clinical SLE recurrence was suspected only once (a patient with thrombocytopenia, hypocomplementaemia with low complement levels and positive antiplatelet antibodies). Two SLE patients showed mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis compatible with recurrence. Both grafts were lost. Two further patients showed membranous glomerulonephritis with an immunofluorescence pattern compatible with recurrence. A fifth patient had necrotizing arteritis which recovered after treatment with cyclophosphamide and another patient showed focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis. Histology of biopsies from five patients in the control group showed signs compatible with recurrence of focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis and membranous glomerulonephritis. There was a wide variation in serum levels of antinuclear antibodies. A wide variation in complement levels was also observed, but with a tendency towards low C4 levels. CONCLUSIONS: The safety of renal transplantation in SLE patients is equivalent to a matched case-control group with a similar rate of recurrence of disease.

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Subjects: Nephrology

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