Immunosuppressive therapy reduction and early post-infection graft function in kidney transplant recipients with COVID-19

Abstract

Background: Kidney transplant (KT) recipients with COVID-19 are at high risk of poor outcomes due to the high burden of comorbidities and immunosuppression. The effects of immunosuppressive therapy (IST) reduction are unclear in patients with COVID-19.
Methods: A retrospective study on 45 KT recipients followed at the University Hospital of Modena (Italy) who tested positive for COVID-19 by RT-PCR analysis.
Results: The median age was 56.1 years (interquartile range,[IQR] 47.3-61.1), with a predominance of males (64.4%). Kidney transplantation vintage was 10.1 (2.7-16) years, and 55.6 % of patients were on triple IST before COVID-19. Early immunosuppression minimization occurred in 27 (60%) patients (reduced-dose IST group) and included antimetabolite (88.8%) and calcineurin inhibitor withdrawal (22.2%). After SARS-CoV-2 infection, 88.9% of patients became symptomatic and 42.2% required hospitalization. One patient experienced irreversible graft failure. There were no differences in serum creatinine level and proteinuria in non-hospitalized patients before and post-COVID-19, whereas hospitalized patients experienced better kidney function after hospital discharge (P=0.019). Overall mortality was 17.8%. without differences between full- and reduced-dose IST. Risk factors for death were age (odds ratio [OR]: 1.19; 95%CI: 1.01-1.39), and duration of kidney transplant (OR: 1.17; 95%CI: 1.01-1.35). One KT recipient developed IgA glomerulonephritis and two ones experienced symptomatic COVID-19 after primary infection and SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine, respectively.
Conclusions: Despite the reduction of immunosuppression, COVID-19 affected the survival of KT recipients. Age of patients and time elapsed from kidney transplantation were independent predictors of death . Early kidney function was favorable in most survivors after COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19, kidney transplant, immunosuppressive therapy, graft function, proteinuria, mortality, transplant, SARS-COV-2, reinfection

Introduction

Since SARS CoV-2 infection was first identified in December 2019, the pandemic spread quickly around the world, with a disruptive impact on social and economic life. This virus yielded several new challenges to our healthcare systems that had to cope with an increased rate of morbidity and mortality among the most vulnerable populations [1]. Kidney transplant (KT) recipients are a subset of the population at high risk of severe COVID-19 due to the high burden of comorbidities and the cumulative side effects of immunosuppressive therapy (IST) [2]. Data collected so far show that transplant recipients are extremely susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 infection, much more than the general population [3, 4]. The causes are multiple, but principally revolve around the use of long-term IST. 

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Is peritoneal dialysis the first-choice renal replacement therapy for patients waiting for a kidney transplant?

Abstract

Kidney transplantation is the gold-standard treatment of end-stage renal disease. Receiving a pre-emptive transplant ensures the best survival for both the recipient and the allograft. However, due to an overwhelming discrepancy between available donors and patients on the transplant waiting list, the vast majority of transplant candidates require prolonged periods of dialytic therapy before transplant.

Peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis have been traditionally considered as competitive renal replacement therapies. This dualistic vision has been recently questioned by emerging evidence suggesting that an individualized and flexible approach may be more appropriate. Tailored and cleverly planned shifts between different modalities, according to the patient’s needs, represents the best option.

Remarkably, recent data seem to support the use of peritoneal dialysis over hemodialysis in patients waiting for a kidney transplant. In this specific setting, the perceived advantages of PD are better overall recipient survival and quality of life, longer preservation of residual renal function, lower incidence of delayed graft function and reduced cost.

Keywords: peritoneal dialysis, kidney transplant, hemodialysis, renal replacement therapy, waiting-list, residual renal function, quality of life, delayed graft function

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Introduzione

Il trapianto di rene (KT) è ampiamente riconosciuto come la terapia renale sostitutiva (RRT) d’elezione per la malattia renale terminale (ESRD) [13]. Idealmente, sottoporre il paziente a KT prima dell’inizio della terapia dialitica è la strategia che permette di ottenere i risultati più soddisfacenti [46]. Tuttavia, a causa della limitata disponibilità di donatori, la maggior parte dei soggetti candidati a KT necessita di un lungo periodo di trattamento dialitico prima di ricevere un organo [7]. Per molti anni l’emodialisi (HD) ha rappresentato l’unica opzione per i pazienti in lista di trapianto [8,9]. Negli anni ‘80 l’avvento della dialisi peritoneale (PD) nella pratica clinica ha sollevato la questione di quale fosse la terapia dialitica da preferire nei pazienti candidabili a KT [10,11].

 

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Diagnosis of Biliary Hamartomatosis in Kidney Transplant Recipient affected by ADPKD

Abstract

Biliary hamartomas (BH) are rare benign lesions of the liver characterized by a dilation of a variable number of small biliary ducts, usually surrounded by abundant fibrotic tissue. These malformations are due to an aberrant remodelling of the ductal plate, that is the embryonic structure generating the normal biliary tree. BH are usually asymptomatic, but in rare cases they can be associated with jaundice, heartburn and fever. Evidences for a sharing of similar pathological pathways between BH and adult dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) are widely reported. These similarities induce an increased neoplastic risk transformation in both conditions. This risk is even greater in immunosuppressed patients. The diagnosis of BH by imaging is not easy, especially in the context of ADPKD. We present a clinical case of a 54-year-old kidney transplant recipient affected by ADPKD in which BH, previously undetected, was for the first time suspected on routine ultrasound scan and confirmed with MRI 4 years after renal transplantation. Demodulation of proliferative signals induced by immunosuppressive therapy, and particularly by calcineurin inhibitors, could cause an enlargement of AB and increase the risk of neoplastic transformation. Our case-report suggests a close imaging follow-up may be needed in ADPKD patients with BH, especially if transplanted. High sensitivity techniques, such as CEUS and MRI, should be preferred to conventional ultrasound.

Keywords: Biliary Hamartomatosis, Kidney Transplant, ADPKD

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Introduzione

Gli amartomi biliari (AB), anche conosciuti come complessi di von Meyenburg, sono rare malformazioni benigne dei dotti biliari di piccolo calibro che, senza predilezione di sesso, vengono riscontrati nel 5.6% delle autopsie e rappresentano un reperto ancor più raro nella analisi istologica delle biopsie epatiche (0.6%) (1). 

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