Steroid withdrawal from patients taking prednisone for their renal allograft at the time of reinduction of immunosuppression for subsequent pancreas after kidney (PAK) transplantation has not been explored. Our expectation was that lymphocyte depletion, in conjunction with an augmentation of immunosuppression at the time of pancreas transplantation would protect the recipient from rejection of the renal allograft when chronic maintenance steroids are withdrawn.
Methods: Pancreas transplantation was performed using systemic venous drainage and enteric exocrine drainage. Regardless of preoperative immunosuppression, all patients received induction with antithymocyte globulin, a brief taper of intravenous solumedrol over four to five days, maintenance therapy with tacrolimus and sirolimus and either resumption of chronic maintenance steroids or complete withdrawal of steroids.
Results: A total of 30 PAK transplants were performed in 29 recipients and divided into two groups: continuation of chronic steroids (n = 10) or steroid-free (n = 19). One pancreas allograft was lost and there was a single mortality in the steroid free group. There was no significant difference in renal function or incidence of infections.
Conclusion: Steroids can be safely withdrawn following pancreas after kidney transplantation for recipients already on maintenance prednisone in the setting of rabbit antithymocyte globulin induction and tacrolimus and sirolimus maintenance immunosuppression.