Finding the proper balance between too much and not enough immunosuppression is just as important in the late posttransplant period as it is during the first year after transplantation. In general, to much immunosuppression leads to an increase in patient mortality, whereas inadequate immunosuppression can lead to an inordinately high rate of allograft failure (Fig 5). In the late posttransplant period, patient and allograft survival are both critically dependent on the degree of immunosuppression and on the long-term side effects of the agents used to achieve this immunosuppression. Adequate immunosuppression is important in treating and preventing the acute allograft rejection episodes that are common during the first year after transplantation (Fig 6). Some data suggest that the severity of early acute rejection episodes may influence the development of chronic rejection, the most common cause of graft failure in the late posttransplant period. Otherwise, the role of immunosuppression in treating and preventing chronic rejection is unclear. The discontinuation of immunosuppression by noncompliant patients is a major cause of late graft failure. Whether the nephrotoxicity of CsA will also result in graft failure in the very late posttransplant period is still unknown. The agents used to achieve immunosuppression, along with decreased graft function and proteinuria, contribute to hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and hyperglycemia. These and other risk factors have a negative impact on both graft and patient survival. Thus, immunosuppression is directly, or indirectly linked to most of the common causes of death and graft failure after renal transplantation. Although potent new immunosuppression protocols have increased the rate of short-term patient and allograft survival after renal transplantation, future advances in long-term survival after renal transplantation will depend on improvements that are effective in the late post-transplant period. Currently, the best approach to preventing complications in the late post-transplant period is to maintain a vigilant, comprehensive program of on-going medical care. The minimal amount of immunosuppression required to prevent allograft rejection should be used, while adhering to the principle that it is better to lose the graft than to lose the patient.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Seminars in nephrology|
|State||Published - Jul 1992|