Background: The risk of progressing to end-stage renal disease in children with lupus glomerulonephritis is 18% to 50%. Published reports of transplantation secondary to end-stage renal failure in adult patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) demonstrate equivalent patient and graft survival. The purpose of this analysis is to compare patient and graft outcomes of pediatric SLE renal transplant recipients with an age-, race-, and gender-matched control group.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of the North American Pediatric Renal Transplant Cooperative Study (NAPRTCS) database identified 100 renal transplants performed in 94 young SLE patients. A control group of 470 children having received 501 renal transplants was identified.
Results: The SLE cohort was primarily female (82%), non-Caucasian (61%), adolescents and differed from the control group in being less likely to be preemptively transplanted, in receiving longer pretransplant dialysis, and in being likely to have received more than five pretransplant transfusions. After transplantation, there were no differences seen in patient survival at 3 years (89% vs. 95%, SLE vs. control) or in overall graft failure rates (31% vs. 29%, SLE vs. control). There was a trend toward poorer graft survival in non-white SLE patients receiving living donor grafts compared with white SLE patients. An increased graft failure rate was seen among those SLE cadaveric transplant recipients receiving peritoneal dialysis before transplant compared with controls and compared with SLE patients receiving hemodialysis. No differences were seen in rates of acute tubular necrosis or overall acute rejection incidence, although there was a significant increase in the percentage of living donor SLE patients who experienced greater than four rejection episodes. There were nonsignificant trends toward increased graft loss due to patient death with a functioning graft as well as increased mortality secondary to infection in the SLE patients.
Conclusions: The results of renal transplantation in young SLE patients are comparable to those seen in an age-, race- and gender-matched control group. The similar patient and graft survival is seen despite the SLE patients having an underlying disease with multiorgan involvement and despite receiving immunosuppression for potentially prolonged periods before transplantation. No outcome differences were seen except for an unexplained increase in the incidence of recurrent rejections (> or =4) in the living donor SLE patients as well as increased graft failure rate in those patients receiving cadaveric renal transplants after a period of peritoneal dialysis. The nonsignificant trends toward increased graft failures in non-white SLE patients receiving living donor grafts, increased graft loss secondary to death with a functioning graft, as well as the increased mortality due to infection deserve recognition and further study.