Background: Few data are available about the long-term outcome of renal transplantation in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: Between June 1982 and 2004, a total of 33 adults with lupus nephritis received 35 kidney allografts. Outcomes of these grafts and those of 70 controls matched for age, sex, and donor source who underwent transplantation during the same period were compared.
Results: Mean follow-up after renal transplantation was 91 +/- 59 months for patients with lupus and 90 +/- 64 months for controls. Actuarial 15-year patient (80% versus 83%) and death-censored graft survival rates (69% versus 67%) were not significantly different between patients with lupus and controls. Risks for acute and chronic rejection, arterial hypertension, and infection were not different between the 2 groups. Mean serum creatinine levels also were similar in the 2 groups at the last follow-up visit. Intravascular thrombotic events occurred in 9 patients with SLE (26%) and 6 controls (8.6%; P = 0.038). In the SLE group, 6 of 7 antiphospholipid (aPL) antibody-positive versus 3 of 17 aPL antibody-negative patients experienced thrombotic events ( P = 0.015). Recurrence of lupus nephritis was documented in 3 renal grafts (8.6%), but no graft was lost because of recurrent lupus nephritis.
Conclusion: Long-term patient and graft survival probabilities were similar in patients with SLE and matched controls. The risk for thrombotic complications was greater in patients with SLE, particularly aPL-positive patients. Nephritis recurred in less than 10% of patients with SLE and did not influence graft survival.