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Chronic renal dysfunction following liver transplantation


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    The first and second author contributed equally to this manuscript.

Volker Schmitz, Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, Humboldt University Berlin, Charité, Campus Virchow, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany.
Tel.: 0049 30 450552393; fax: 0049 30 450552900;


Abstract:  With most of the immunosuppressive protocols consisting of calcineurin inhibitors (CI), nephrotoxicity has become a major long-term complication often compromising outcome. In a single-center retrospective study, we reviewed 1173 liver transplantations to identify variables indicative for the occurrence of chronic renal dysfunction (CRD) (defined as ≥1 episode of serum creatinine increase ≥1.8 mg/dL ≥2 wk). Chronic renal dysfunction was found in 137 (11.7%) of all transplants [82 (7%) early (after 3–12 months), 55 (4.7%) late-onset (>12 months)]. Compared to 5-/10-yr survival rates in non-CRD transplants (84/74%) survival was significantly decreased in early (66/46%), but unchanged in late-onset CRD (98/86%). Rates of alcoholic cirrhosis and prior renal dysfunction were significantly increased in patients with CRD. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, only cyclosporine A (CyA) as immunosuppression remained an independent risk factor. No correlations to age, gender, rejection/retransplantation or diabetes were found. Surprisingly, renal function (creatinine) showed no difference between patients on CI monotherapy (FK/CyA) compared to those who had mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) added. In liver transplantation, early onset CRD significantly compromises survival. CyA-based immunosuppression appears to have a stronger impact than FK. The fact that patients with long-term severe chronic renal dysfunction failed to improve under MMF rescue therapy emphasizes the importance of new diagnostic strategies to earlier identify at-risk patients.