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Transplantation. 2000 May 15;69(9):1890-8.

Improved long-term results with thymoglobuline induction therapy after cardiac transplantation: a comparison of two different rabbit-antithymocyte globulines.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Vienna, Austria.



The aim of this retrospective single center analysis was to compare possible long-term benefits of two different rabbit-antithymocyte globuline (ATG) induction therapies after cardiac transplantation.


A total of 484 primary cardiac transplanted patients received induction therapy with two different rabbit-ATGs (thymoglobuline: n=342, ATG-fresenius: n=142). All patients received immunosuppressive maintenance therapy with cyclosporine, azathioprine, and prednisolone. Cardiac rejection was assessed by serial endomyocardial biopsies. Surveillance of graft arteriosclerosis was performed by angiograms 1, 3, and 5 years after transplantation.


Five-year survival was significantly better in the thymoglobuline group (76 vs. 60%). Thymoglobuline patients had a lower rate of death from rejection (2.3 vs. 10%; P<0.01) and graft arteriosclerosis (0.88 vs. 5.6%; P<0.01). After 5 years, freedom from rejection was 72% in the thymoglobuline group compared to 42% in the ATG-fresenius group (P<0.01). Graft arteriosclerosis appeared in 14% of thymoglobuline patients and in 28% of ATG-fresenius patients (P<0.01). Viral infections occurred more often in thymoglobuline patients (53 vs. 39%, P<0.05) although there was no difference in appearance of cytomegalovirus disease (17 vs. 13%). Freedom from posttransplant malignant disease was comparable between the two groups.


These results suggest that there are differences between rabbit ATG products. The superior prevention of rejection with thymoglobuline may be the reason for the lower rate of graft arteriosclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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