Background Some studies in the literature have supported, while others have denied, the relationship between results of delayed hypersensitivity skin tests (DHST), renal allograft and patient survival rates. Several factors contribute to the unreliability of these studies. For example, most of these studies were performed in the precyclosporine era, furthermore, other variables which influence renal allografts and patient survival rates were not controlled in those studies.
Objective The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between results of DHST performed in the pretransplant period with the subsequent renal transplant outcome in the cyclosporine era.
Methods The study included 103 first cadaveric renal transplant recipients. DHST were performed during pretransplant evaluation by intradermal injections of a battery of recall antigens. Based on skin-test results, the patients were assigned to two groups —those with a positive skin test (STP+) and those with a negative (anergic) skin test. These two groups were compared with each other regarding allograft survival, patient survival, and other variables known to influence survival rates.
Results The mean age, sex and racial distribution, degree of HLA matches between recipients and donors, number of acute rejection episodes, and number of patients with acute tubular necrosis were similar between the two groups. Renal allograft survival rates in the anergic group at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years were 97%, 90% 84%, and 57%, respectively. The survival rate for renal allografts in the STP+ group for the same time points was 90%, 86%, 80%, and 72%, respectively. Patient survival rates for the anergic group at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years were 95%, 94%, 89%, and 85%, respectively, while those for the STP+ group were 98%, 98%, 98%, and 97% respectively. Differences between the STP+ and anergic groups, with regard to patient and allograft survival rates, were not significant.
Conclusion We conclude that DHST is not helpful in predicting outcome of patient or renal allograft survival rates over a 3-year time period.
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