Background: Renal failure due to cholesterol emboli is mostly irreversible. Therefore chronic renal replacement therapy is necessary. However, to the best of our knowledge no published experience exists with renal transplantation in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) due to cholesterol embolization (CE).
Methods: Renal transplantation was performed in a 64-year-old man who suffered from ESRD due to CE after coronary angiography. Because our patient presented with a typical profile of cardiovascular risk factors effective long-term control of these risk factors before and after transplantation was a mandatory prerequisite before considering transplantation.
Results: After one rejection episode serum creatinine values have been stable and no major complications have occurred during a follow-up of 18 months. No signs of recurrent cholesterol emboli into the donated kidney were seen in renal biopsies performed due to graft rejection.
Conclusion: Cholesterol embolization is an uncommon reason for ESRD and mainly occurs after invasive vascular procedures in patients with hyperlipidemia, arterial hypertension, and smoking. Because ESRD due to CE often is irreversible, chronic renal replacement therapy may be necessary. As demonstrated in our report, renal transplantation should be considered. However, in this setting effective long-term control of the underlying risk factors before and after renal transplantation has to be ensured.