Long-term effects on renal function of dose-reduced calcineurin inhibitor and sirolimus in cardiac transplant patients

Cardiovascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Clinical Transplantation (Impact Factor: 1.52). 02/2011; 26(1):42-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2011.01407.x
Source: PubMed


Khandhar SJ, Shah HV, Shullo MA, Zomak R, Navoney M, McNamara DM, Kormos RL, Toyoda Y, Teuteberg JJ. Long-term effects on renal function of dose-reduced calcineurin inhibitor and sirolimus in cardiac transplant patients. Clin Transplant 2012: 26: 42–49. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
Abstract: Calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-associated renal insufficiency is common after cardiac transplantation (CTX); however, the addition of sirolimus allows for CNI dose reduction and this strategy may limit CNI renal toxicity. This study examines the long-term effects of such a strategy.
Methods: Patients from a single center who had CTX from 1990 to 2007 and who were converted to sirolimus and a dose-reduced CNI were compared to group-matched controls maintained on CNI and an antiproliferative agent.
Results: One hundred and fifty-five patients (79 sirolimus and 76 controls) were included and had similar baseline characteristics. Sirolimus was started a mean of 1429 d post-CTX and maintained for a mean of 823 d. Reason for conversion to sirolimus was renal insufficiency (34%), vasculopathy (29%), recurrent rejection (19%), and other (18%). The eGFR was not different between groups at baseline (44.7 mL/min/1.73 m2 vs. 46.0, p = 0.64) or at any point during follow-up: 90 d, 180 d, 1 yr, 2 yr, and 3 yr.
Conclusion: Patients converted to a regimen of sirolimus and a dosed-reduced CNI have stable renal function over the following three yr, but do not have an improvement in renal outcomes compared to patients maintained on full dose CNI.

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    ABSTRACT: Renal dysfunction after heart transplantation is a frequently observed complication, in some cases resulting in significant limitation of quality of life and reduced survival. Since the pathophysiology of renal failure (RF) is multifactorial, the current etiologic paradigm for chronic kidney disease after heart transplantation relies on the concept of calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-related nephrotoxicity acting on a predisposed recipient. Until recently, the management of RF has been restricted to the minimization of CNI dosage and general avoidance of classic nephrotoxic risk factors, with somewhat limited success. The recent introduction of proliferation signal inhibitors (PSIs) (sirolimus and everolimus), a new class of immunosuppressive drugs lacking intrinsic nephrotoxicity, has provided a completely new alternative in this clinical setting. As clinical experience with these new drugs increases, new renal-sparing strategies are becoming available. PSIs can be used in combination with reduced doses of CNIs and even in complete CNI-free protocols. Different strategies have been devised, including de novo use to avoid acute renal toxicity in high-risk patients immediately after transplantation, or more delayed introduction in those patients developing chronic RF after prolonged CNI exposure. In this review, the main information on the clinical relevance and pathophysiology of RF after heart transplantation, as well as the currently available experience with renal-sparing immunosuppressive regimens, particularly focused on the use of PSIs, is reviewed and summarized, including the key practical points for their appropriate clinical usage.
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