Background: The outcome of 60 renal transplantations in 53 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) because of lupus nephritis was studied retrospectively and compared with 106 controls matched for age, sex, maximum panel-reactive antibody (PRA) level, and date of transplantation.
Methods: The patients received their transplants over a 260-month period (21.5 years) between October 1971 and August 1993. The population was predominantly women (90%), and the mean age at the time of the transplantation was 33.2 years (range: 21-54 years). Fifty-six transplants (93%) were from cadaveric donors, and 4 (7%) were from living-related donors; 46 patients (86%) had primary allografts, and 7 (14%) received a second allograft. The duration of disease before transplantation was 93.6+/-6.2 months, and the duration of dialysis before transplantation was 48+/-6 months.
Results: No patient had clinically active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) at the time of transplantation. The 1-year graft and patient survival rates were 83% and 98%, and the 5-year graft and patient survival rates were 69% and 96%. Actuarial graft and patient survival rates in SLE patients were not significantly different from those of the matched control group. Chronic rejection was the major risk factor for graft loss. Lupus nephritis recurred in the graft of one patient 3 months after transplantation, and there were extrarenal manifestations of SLE in four others.
Conclusions: The present study confirms that patients with SLE can receive transplants with excellent graft and patient survival rates and a low rate of clinical recurrent lupus nephritis.