Background: Although polyoma virus infection is being increasingly recognized as a cause of renal allograft dysfunction and failure, the risk of polyoma recurrence in a subsequent transplant is unknown. We present the first reported case of successful retransplantation after polyoma virus-induced renal allograft loss.
Case report: A 40-year-old Caucasian woman received a cadaveric kidney transplant. Baseline immunosuppression included corticosteroids, mycophenolate mofetil, and tacrolimus. Her post-transplant clinical course was complicated by an early acute rejection episode on posttransplant day (PTD) 6, that warranted treatment with OKT3. A biopsy performed on PTD 154 to evaluate a rise in creatinine revealed polyoma virus interstitial nephritis. Despite reduction in immunosuppression, the renal function progressively worsened and dialysis was initiated by PTD 160, followed by transplant nephrectomy on PTD 184. Four months later, she received a living related kidney from her sister. Immunosuppression was initiated with prednisone, azathioprine, and tacrolimus. She had immediate graft function with a decrease in serum creatinine from 12.8 to 1.1 mg/dl. Three and one-half years after her second renal transplant, her allograft functions well, with a serum creatinine of 1 mg/dl. Both quantitative and qualitative assays of blood and urine (by PCR) remain negative for BK virus, indicating the absence of virus reactivation.
Conclusion: Judicious retransplantation should be considered as a therapeutic option in the management of polyoma virus induced graft failure. Previous graft loss secondary to polyoma virus infection is not a contraindication to retransplantation.