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Medicine (Baltimore). 2000 Mar;79(2):90-102.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome. Recurrence after renal transplantation. Groupe Coopératif de l'Ile-de-France (GCIF).

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Service de Néphrologie A, Hôpital Tenon, Paris, France.


Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is an uncommon cause of end-stage renal failure in adults, and few data are available concerning the outcome of renal transplantation in these patients. We conducted this retrospective multicentric study to appreciate the outcome of adult renal transplant recipients whose primary disease was HUS. Sixteen patients, transplanted between 1975 and 1995, were included in the study. In each case, initial diagnosis of HUS was documented by a kidney biopsy. These 16 patients received a total of 25 allografts: 1 graft for 9 patients, 2 grafts for 5 patients, and 3 grafts for 2 patients. Nine patients (56%) developed definite clinical and pathologic evidence of recurrence on at least 1 graft. Four additional patients (25%) demonstrated only some clinical or pathologic evidence of recurrence which could not be distinguished from acute vascular rejection. Three patients had no sign of recurrence of the initial disease. The 1-year graft survival rate was 63% and the 5-year graft survival rate was 18.5%. In the group of patients with proven or possible recurrence (n = 13), the 1-year and 5-year graft survival rates were 49% and less than 10%, respectively. The recurrence was an early event, occurring before the end of the first month after transplantation in half the cases. The recurrence rate was 92% in non-nephrectomized patients and 50% in patients with bilateral nephrectomy. In the literature, 71 adult patients with primary HUS had received a total of 90 kidney grafts. Among them, 54% had a recurrence on their graft, which was diagnosed in 52% of the kidney transplants. It is note-worthy that when data from the literature are pooled with our results, the rate of recurrence appears to be significantly lower in binephrectomized patients than in patients with their native kidneys at the time of transplantation (5 of 14 versus 27 of 35 patients, respectively, p = 0.0155). By univariate analysis, no other risk factor for recurrence could be identified. Treatment with cyclosporine A did not influence the recurrence rate. We conclude that recurrence of HUS after renal transplantation is a frequent, early, and severe complication, leading rapidly to graft loss. Prospective studies are needed to confirm that bilateral nephrectomy prior to transplantation decreases the rate of recurrence.

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