Background: Progressive renal function loss is common after lung transplantation. To facilitate the design of renoprotective strategies, identification of early predictors for long-term renal function loss would be useful.
Methods: We prospectively analyzed renal function [glomerular filtration rate (GFR); 125I-iothalamate clearance] in a closely monitored cohort (minimum 24-month follow-up) of 57 patients who received lung transplants between November 1990 and September 1996 in our center. The analyzed end points were the slope of the GFR from 6 months posttransplant onward and the GFR at 24 months after transplantation.
Results: Before transplantation, the GFR was 100 ml/min (median, range 59-163). It decreased to 67 ml/min (29-123) at 6 months, 53 ml/min (17-116) at 24 months, and 51 ml/min (20-87) at 36 months after transplantation. The magnitude of the loss of GFR 1 month post-transplantation was the only factor significantly correlated with absolute GFR at 24 months after transplantation. Pulmonary diagnosis was significantly associated with long-term rate of renal function loss. Median loss of GFR was greatest in patients with cystic fibrosis (-10 ml/min/year, range -14 to -6 ml/min/year), preserved in pulmonary hypertension (-1 ml/min/year, range -6 to +7 ml/min/year), and in between in emphysema (-6 ml/min/year, range -27 to +12 ml/min/year). No other factors could be identified.
Conclusions: In lung transplant recipients, the 1-month postoperative loss of GFR is an early marker for long-term renal prognosis. Pulmonary diagnosis appears to be a relevant predictor as well. These factors may guide further research and the development of preventive strategies.