Background: Few data exist on long-term morbidity, overall survival, and graft survival of pediatric renal transplantation.
Methods: The authors performed a long-term cohort study in all Dutch patients, born before 1979, with onset of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) between 1972 and 1992 at age 0 to 15 years. Data on graft survival and determinants of outcome were obtained by reviewing all medical charts. The health status was assessed by cross-sectional examination of surviving patients.
Results: Three hundred ninety-seven transplantations were performed in 231 of all 249 patients, of whom 25 died with a functioning graft. Cardiovascular disease was the most prominent cause of death. Graft survival estimates for all transplantations were 59.2%, 45.3%, 35.4%, and 30.3% at 5, 10, 15, and 20 years, respectively. In comparison with azathioprine, cyclosporine as the immunosuppressant was associated with increased graft survival in retransplantations but not in first transplantations. Cross-sectional examination was performed on 110 patients. In 44 patients, the most recent graft survival exceeded 15 years. Co-morbidity was found in 40% of all patients; motor, hearing, or visual disabilities were found in 19%. Bone disease, headaches, itching, and tremors were the most reported disabling problems. Cyclosporine use was associated with hypertension and a history of epilepsy. Compared with all age-matched Dutch inhabitants, the educational attainment was low, and unemployment and parental dependency were high.
Conclusions: The authors' results emphasize the need for reducing cardiovascular disease and metabolic bone disease in pediatric ESRD, a policy toward less toxic antirejection therapy, a more strict treatment of hypertension, and more attention for schooling and social development toward independence.