Cardiovascular Diseases & Diagnosis

ISSN: 2329-9517

Open Access

Management of Calcineurin Inhibitors-Related Chronic Kidney Disease in Cardiac Transplantation


Andreas Brieke, Brian D. Lowes

Background: The use of calcineurin inhibitors revolutionized transplantation by prolonging patients’ survival. However, their utility is limited by the development of significant chronic kidney disease.

Methods: We reviewed the English literature looking for recent publications regarding the management of chronic kidney disease in cardiac transplant patients. We chose relevant papers based on design, number of patients and clinical utility.

Results: Most publications on the subject involve small populations with few prospective, randomized studies. Early use of tacrolimus appears to be associated with better kidney function after one year compared to cyclosporine. Once chronic kidney disease is established, successful strategies include reduction or elimination of calcineurin inhibitors while relying on mycophenolate mofetil, proliferation signal inhibitors or anti-CD 25 antibodies to prevent rejection. There is no follow up longer than two years with these approaches. Kidney transplantation might offer improved long-term survival compared to dialysis in end-stage disease.

Conclusions: Prospective studies with long-term follow-up are needed to decide about the timing and to confirm the utility of replacing calcineurin inhibitors with other agents in cardiac transplant patients with chronic kidney disease.


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