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Transplantation. 1997 May 15;63(9):1273-7.

Systemic vasculitis in a kidney transplant population.

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Transplant Unit, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.



Systemic vasculitis as original disease might adversely influence the result of kidney transplantation.


The clinical course after 32 transplantations to 26 patients with microscopic polyangiitis, Wegener's granulomatosis, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome, or Goodpasture's disease was evaluated. The median follow-up time was 82 months (range, 4-132 months). Frozen sera from 25 transplantations were analyzed for Goodpasture antibodies, myeloperoxidase antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), and proteinase 3 ANCA.


Survival of patients and grafts did not differ between patients and matched controls. Recurrent vasculitis occurred with seven grafts (four patients with microscopic polyangiitis or Wegener's granulomatosis, two patients with Henoch-Schonlein purpura, and one patient thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura). New-onset hematuria was the initial renal symptom in five patients. Treatment with corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, and/or plasma exchange was most often effective, but two grafts were lost. Proteinase 3 ANCA titers were increased to 12-738 U/ml before seven transplants. The patient with the lowest titer lost his graft due to recurrence, two other patients had reversible recurrence after 1 year and 5 years, two patients lost their grafts due to unknown/unrelated causes, and two patients' grafts remain without recurrence. Myeloperoxidase ANCA were increased to 22-39 U/ml before two transplants, which have been uneventful for 4 years.


An awareness of the small but perpetual risk of recurrence facilitates early treatment that may save the transplant. Testing for hematuria and early transplant biopsies, and possibly monitoring of ANCA titers, are essential, but pretransplant ANCA titers have no predictive value in asymptomatic patients. Results of kidney transplantation in patients with vasculitis are as good as in other patients.

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