There is an increased risk for people who had pediatric heart transplants to have kidney failure sometimes decades later, a study led by Dr. Swati Choudhry found after tracking the two conditions.
Choudhry is a pediatric cardiology fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The risk for kidney failure increased from 3 percent a decade after the transplant to 16 percent 20 years later.
“A heart transplant is a miraculous, life-saving surgery for patients who suffer from irreversible heart conditions,” Choudhry said. “Unfortunately, some heart transplant recipients may end up with devastating kidney failure over time, a setback which compromises the quality and the longevity of life for these patients.”
The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients allowed researchers to follow over 6,900 of the 8,751 pediatric heart transplants performed since 1988. The U.S. Renal Data System allowed them to compare the registries and conclude that 214 transplant recipients had end-stage renal failure, which is 25 percent more than the transplant registry concluded.
The anti-rejection medication, clclosporine, as well as the immune-suppressing drug, tacrolimus, are both toxic to the kidneys which caused some to have kidney transplants and even second heart transplants. The study has made it clear that the search for less toxic medications is extremely important.
The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in November.
Pediatric heart transplants can increase risk of adult kidney failure
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