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Transplantation. 2000 Apr 27;69(8):1586-90.

Improvement of impaired renal function in heart transplant recipients treated with mycophenolate mofetil and low-dose cyclosporine.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany.



Cyclosporine (CsA) nephrotoxicity is a common problem after cardiac transplantation. We have studied the impact of CsA dose reduction in association with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) treatment on renal function in heart transplant recipients with suspected CsA nephrotoxicity (serum creatinine level >2 mg/dl).


Twelve heart transplant recipients (11 men, 1 woman; 111 to 1813 days after transplantation) with CsA-based immunosuppression (plus azathioprine and/or steroids) and a serum creatinine level >2.0 mg/dl were started on a daily dose of 2000 mg of MMF. Dilated cardiomyopathy was the underlying disease in nine patients, ischemic cardiomyopathy in three patients. Mean patient age was 57 years (range 44-69 years). Azathioprine was discontinued and CsA slowly tapered. Creatinine clearance, serum creatinine level, urea nitrogen, and uric acid were monitored. CsA levels were measured, and CsA dose was adjusted for whole blood levels of 70-120 microg/L. Ten patients still had endomyocardial biopsies, whereas one had echocardiographic controls only.


One grade 1B rejection episode according to ISHLT (International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation) was observed until 1 year after the switch to MMF. One patient was excluded due to gastrointestinal side effects.


Conversion from azathioprine to MMF with consecutive reduction of CsA in heart transplant recipients with CsA-impaired renal function improves renal function as evidenced by lower serum creatinine, urea nitrogen, uric acid, and higher creatinine clearance.

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