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Lupus. 2005;14(1):95-8.

Renal transplantation in lupus nephritis.

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IRCCS Instituto Auxologicio, Milan, Italy.


Most patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are suitable candidates for renal transplantation. However, a number of them may present some disease-related problems. As cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in SLE patients, a careful pretransplant cardiovascular screening is recommended. A search for antiphospholipid antibodies is also useful as the presence of these antibodies can cause an early graft thrombosis. The risk of recurrence of SLE nephritis after transplantation may range between 2 and 30%. In most cases recurrence is characterized by mild histologic lesions. Only rarely does it lead to graft failure. Postransplant immunosuppression does not differ from that used routinely. Whenever possible, a steroid-free immunosuppression should be scheduled to prevent iatrogenic toxicity in patients who have already received long-term steroid treatment. The results of kidney transplantation largely depend on the clinical conditions at transplantation. In patients with poor clinical status or receiving an aggressive immunosuppression it is advisable to postpone the transplant. When some selection criteria are respected, the results of renal trasplantation in SLE patients are at least as good as in other transplant recipients.

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