Tuberculosis in renal transplant recipients

Transplantation. 1999 Nov 15;68(9):1268-71. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199911150-00009.


Background: Tuberculosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in renal transplant recipients, but there are insufficient data regarding the efficacy and complications of therapy and of INH prophylaxis.

Methods: This study is a retrospective review of the records of 880 renal transplant recipients in two centers in Turkey.

Results: Tuberculosis developed in 36 patients (4.1%) at posttransplant 3-111 months, of which 28 were successfully treated. Eight patients (22.2%) died of tuberculosis or complications of anti-tuberculosis therapy. Use of rifampin necessitated a mean of 2-fold increase in the cyclosporine dose, but no allograft rejection occurred due to inadequate cyclosporine levels. Hepatotoxicity developed in eight patients during treatment, two of whom died due to hepatic failure. No risk factor, including age, gender, renal dysfunction, hepatitis C, or past hepatitis B infection, was found to be associated with development of hepatic toxicity. A subgroup of 36 patients with a past history of or radiographic findings suggesting inactive tuberculosis, was considered to be at high risk for developing active disease, of whom 23 were given isoniazid (INH) prophylaxis. None versus 1 of 13 (7.7%) of cases with and without INH prophylaxis, respectively, developed active disease (P>0.05). None of the patients receiving INH had hepatic toxicity or needed modification of cyclosporine dose.

Conclusions: These data show that tuberculosis has a high prevalence in transplant recipients, that it can effectively be treated using rifampin-containing antituberculosis drugs with a close follow-up of serum cyclosporine levels, and that INH prophylaxis is safe but more experience is needed to define the target population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / etiology*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control


  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin