• steroid-free;
  • transplantation;
  • graft survival;
  • body mass index;
  • growth


Increased focus on the potential negative side effects of steroid usage in pediatric transplantation has led to steroid minimization or steroid-free transplantation. In this study, we report results after complete steroid avoidance in renal transplantation in the period 1994–2009. We evaluate the effects of complete steroid avoidance on allograft function, BMI, and linear growth. The majority of transplanted children were induced with antithymocyte globulin and immunosuppressed with a calcineurin inhibitor and mycophenolate mofetil. Steroids were given only when rejection occurred or due to comorbidities. Anthropometric data were collected from 65 transplantations in 60 children. Patient survival was 93%; graft survival was 81% after five yr (N = 42) and 63% after 10 yr (N = 16). Acute rejection within the first year of transplantation was 9%. The distribution of the children's BMI before transplantation was normal; the mean BMI-SDS was 0.21 before transplantation, and this value remained stable during the next five yr. Post-transplantation the children demonstrated significant improved growth as the mean height-SDS increased significantly from −1.7 to −1.1. Catch-up growth was most pronounced in the youngest (< six yr). Steroid-free immunosuppression in pediatric renal transplantation is safe and protects against steroid-induced obesity and short stature.