Cystatin C, an easy and reliable marker for assessment of renal dysfunction in children with liver disease and after liver transplantation


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Renal dysfunction of variable severity is being increasingly recognized as a major complication of calcineurin inhibitors (CI), in some patients even necessitating renal transplantation. Close and effective monitoring of the renal function is indicated. Current methods for this monitoring are calculation of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) based on creatinine or exogenous substances like 51Cr-EDTA. The first method is unreliable in children and the second is expensive and cumbersome. Cystatin C has been shown to be an accurate marker of glomerular filtration but has not been evaluated in a large cohort of pediatric patients before and after liver transplantation (LT). We evaluated the accuracy of cystatin C in 62 children (30 male) with LT, who had their 51Cr-EDTA measured on 40 occasions prior to LT and on 47 occasions after LT. The reciprocal of cystatin C correlated better with 51Cr-EDTA GFR (r = .78) than the reciprocal of creatinine (r = .40). Diagnostic accuracy in the identification of reduced GFR was assessed by ROC analysis. Cystatin C yielded the highest area under the ROC curve (AUC) in all groups assessed. From these data a cutoff level of cystatin C predicting 51Cr-EDTA GFR < 80 ml/min/1.73m2 was calculated. A level of 1.06 mg/L was found to have a sensitivity of 91% and a specificity of 81%. Applying this cutoff level in our patient group would have avoided 51Cr-EDTA GFR estimation in 43 of the 87 estimations. In conclusion, the use of this simple test could be recommended as screening of renal dysfunction in children with liver disease and after LT. (Liver Transpl 2005;11:344–349.)