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Nefrologia. 2013 Jan 18;33(1):14-26. doi: 10.3265/Nefrologia.pre2012.Oct.11739.

Has the survival of the graft improved after renal transplantation in the era of modern immunosuppression?

[Article in English, Spanish]

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Servicio de Nefrología. Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron. Barcelona (Spain).


The introduction of new immunosuppressant drugs in recent years has allowed for a reduction in acute rejection rates along with highly significant improvements in short-term kidney transplantation results. Nonetheless, this improvement has not translated into such significant changes in long-term results. In this manner, late graft failure continues to be a frequent cause of readmission onto dialysis programmes and re-entry onto the waiting list. Multiple entities of immunological and non-immunological origin act together and lead to chronic allograft dysfunction. The characteristics of the transplanted organ are a greater determinant of graft survival, and although various algorithms have been designed as a way of understanding the risk of the transplant organ and assigning the most adequate recipient accordingly. They are applied in the clinical setting only under exceptional circumstances. Characterising, for each patient, the immune factors (clinical and subclinical rejection, reactivation of dormant viral infections, adherence to treatment) and non-immune factors (hypertension, diabetes, anaemia, dyslipidaemia) that contribute to chronic allograft dysfunction could allow us to intervene more effectively as a way of delaying the progress of such processes. Therefore, identifying the causes of graft failure and its risk factors, applying predictive models, and intervening in causal factors could constitute strategies for improving kidney transplantation results in terms of survival. This review analyses some of the evidences conditioning graft failure as well as related therapeutic and prognostic aspects: 1) magnitude of the problem and causes of graft failure; 2) identification of graft failure risk factors; 3) therapeutic strategies for reducing graft failure, and; 4) graft failure prediction.

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