In pediatric kidney transplantation, steroid induced growth retardation and cushingoid features are of particular concern. In children, gradual steroid withdrawal late after kidney transplantation increases the risk of rejection. In this pilot study, we investigated the outcome of pediatric renal transplantation with an early steroid withdrawal protocol. This is a retrospective case-control study of pediatric renal transplants with age-matched historical control. Groups were comparable in terms of HLA matching, donor type and graft ischemia time. In the steroid withdrawal group (SWG, n = 13), induction therapy included mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and a 5-day course of steroids with Thymoglobulin in 11 and basiliximab in two other patients. In the steroid group (SG, n = 13), in addition to steroids, four patients were given basiliximab, eight were given Thymoglobulin, and one OKT3. Maintenance therapy included tacrolimus (SWG n = 11, SG n = 3) or cyclosporine (SWG n = 2, SG n = 10). Azathioprine was given to all the patients in the SG, except the last two patients of this series who were prescribed MMF. MMF was given to all in the SWG. Patient and graft survival rates were 100% in both groups. In the SWG, no acute rejection episode was detected. In the steroid group, three patients (25%) presented with an acute rejection episode. All but one patient in either group showed immediate graft function. Patients in the steroid-withdrawal group exhibited a significantly higher creatinine clearance at 6 and 12 months post-transplant (95.8 ± 23.3 vs. 71.3 ± 21.9, p = 0.03; and 91.3 ± 21.6 vs. 69.6 ± 28.6, p = 0.04). In the SWG delta BMI was significantly lower and delta height Z score was significantly higher, and we observed significantly less hyperlipidemia, body disfigurement, and need for anti-hypertensive medication. Early steroid withdrawal in pediatric renal transplant recipients is efficacious and safe and does not increase risk of rejection, preserving optimal growth and renal function, and reducing cardiovascular risk factors.
- Kidney transplant
- Steroid discontinuation
- Steroid withdrawal
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health