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Keywords:

  • biomarkers;
  • calcineurin-inhibitor-sparing regimens;
  • fluid balance;
  • immunosuppression;
  • liver transplantation;
  • renal perfusion

Abstract

Acute kidney injury (AKI) has a major impact on short- and long-term survival in liver transplant (LT) patients. There is no currently accepted uniform definition of AKI, which would facilitate standardization of the care of patients with AKI and to improve and enhance collaborative research efforts. New promising biomarkers such as neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin or kidney injury molecule-1 have been developed for the prevention of delayed AKI treatment. Early dialysis has been shown to be beneficial in patients with AKI stage III according to the classification of the Acute Kidney Injury Network, whereas treatment with loop diuretics or dopamine is associated with worse outcome. The mainstay for the prevention of AKI seems to be avoidance of volume depletion and maintenance of a mean arterial pressure >65 mmHg. Although the aetiology of chronic kidney disease in transplant recipients may be multifactorial, calcineurin-inhibitor (CNI)-induced nephrotoxicity significantly contributes to the development of renal dysfunction over time after LT. The delayed introduction of CNI at minimal doses has shown to be safe and effective for the preservation of kidney function. Other strategies to overcome CNI nephrotoxicity include CNI minimization protocols or CNI withdrawal and conversion to mycophenolate mofetil or the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor-based immunosuppressive regimens. However, CNI avoidance may bear a higher rejection risk. Thus, more results from randomized-controlled studies are urgently warranted to determine which drug combinations are the most beneficial approaches for the potential introduction of CNI-free immunosuppressive regimens.