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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1998 Nov;13(11):2905-8.

Treatment of end-stage renal failure after heart transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology, University Hospital, Nancy, France.



Five to 10% of heart-transplant recipients develop end-stage renal failure (ESRF). Little is known about the outcome of these patients under renal replacement therapy.


We conducted a retrospective study in 16 men (mean age 52.8+/-7.4 years at heart transplantation) who developed ESRF 5.3+/-2.1 years later. Results. Haemodialysis (HD) was the first-line treatment (mean Kt/V 1.35+/-0.4). Vascular access was unsuccessful in six patients (37.5%) due to peripheral arteriopathy and they were treated with tunnelled catheters for an average 15 months without bacterial infection. Mean weight was 68.4+/-10 kg at onset of HD and 61.7+/-9 kg one month later. Despite this reduction in extracellular overload, one antihypertensive drug was required in 75% of patients and two drugs in 12.5%. One patient tolerated automated peritoneal dialysis (PD) for 16 months (weekly Kt/V 2.1) despite persistent anuria. Renal transplantation (RT) was contraindicated in eight patients because of aortoiliac arteriopathy (n=5), poor general status (n=2), or ischaemic heart disease (n=1). RT was performed in eight patients with no acute episode of heart or renal graft rejection. There were no serious infectious complications. Three months after RT, mean serum creatinine was 115 micromol/l. One patient developed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder 3.5 months after RT and was successfully treated with transplant nephrectomy. Sudden death occurred in two patients 18 and 33 months after RT. Overall patient survival was 100, 78, and 59%, 1, 2 and 3 years after HD onset respectively. Using a time-dependent variable, the Cox model analysis demonstrated that heart-transplant recipients with ESRF have a relative risk of death 3.2 times higher than those without ESRF (95% CI = 1.3-7.8).


HD, PD, and RT can be useful for the treatment of ESRF after heart transplantation. After initiating HD, patient survival is nearly the same as that reported in patients in Europe undergoing HD for other causes. But ESRF seems to reduce life expectancy in heart-transplant recipients.

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