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Pediatr Transplant. 2008 Sep;12(6):701-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2007.00884.x. Epub 2007 Dec 26.

Potential influence of tacrolimus and steroid avoidance on early graft function in pediatric renal transplantation.

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Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5208, USA.


With the increasing adoption of steroid-sparing immunosuppression protocols in renal transplantation, it is important to evaluate any adverse effects of steroid avoidance on graft function. Early graft function, measured by CrCl was retrospectively studied in 158 consecutive pediatric renal transplant recipients from 1996 to 2005, receiving either steroid-free or steroid-based immunosuppression. Patients receiving steroid-free immunosuppression vs. steroid-based immunosuppression had no difference change in CrCl (DeltaCrCl) in the first week post-transplantation (p = 0.12). When stratified by corticosteroid usage, patients with higher tacrolimus trough levels (> or =14 ng/mL) had slower graft function recovery in the first week post-transplantation than those with lower tacrolimus trough levels (p = 0.008) in the steroid-free group only. Despite initial slower graft function recovery in this subgroup, there was no negative impact on graft function in the steroid-free group; in fact steroid-free patients trended towards better CrCl at six months (p = 0.047) and 12 months (p < 0.001) post-transplant than the steroid-based group. With the improved immunological outcomes with steroid avoidance, close surveillance should be performed of tacrolimus levels to avoid levels >14 ng/mL. In patients with slow recovery of early graft function, short-term perioperative steroids may be considered.

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