Kidney Transplantation for Systemic Sclerosis Improves Survival and may Modulate Disease Activity


  • Parts of this study were presented at the American Transplant Congress, Boston MA, on 18 May 2004.

*Corresponding author: Eric M. Gibney,


Systemic sclerosis (SS) may lead to sclerodema renal crisis, an unusual cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) with historically poor hemodialysis outcomes. Little information is available on outcomes after kidney transplantation. Information from the UNOS registry was obtained on SS patients in the United States, listed for kidney transplants between 1985–2002. We compared survival at 1 and 3 years in patients who received cadaveric transplants with patients who remained on the waiting list. Graft survival, cause of graft loss, frequency of early graft loss and pre- and post-transplant skin scores were analyzed. Two hundred and fifty-eight patients with SS were listed for transplantation. Survival was significantly prolonged in patients receiving transplants (p = 0.005). Graft survival at 1 and 3 years was 68% and 60%. Early graft loss was common. Skin scores improved in all four subjects at our center, with an average decline of 60.7% (p = 0.024). Kidney transplantation confers a survival benefit in ESRD due to SS. Transplantation may be associated with an improvement in systemic manifestations of disease. Despite suboptimal graft survival, kidney transplant should be considered the treatment of choice in ESRD due to SS.