In the Netherlands, pediatric kidney transplantation programs are available in four centers. We retrospectively analyzed the results obtained over the past decade. Between 1985 and 1995, 231 patients (139 boys) received 269 transplants, including 61 repeat. The recipients were aged 1.9-21.8 yrs (mean 10.9), the donors 0.3-63.3 yrs (median 11.4, mean 19.7). Immunosuppression consisted of corticosteroids, cyclosporin A and azathioprine, in various combinations and dosages. The patient survival during follow-up was 97%. The overall graft survival was 73% at 1 yr and 60% at 5 yrs after transplantation. Major causes of graft loss were acute rejection (21%), thrombosis (12%) and chronic rejection (28%). Acute rejection episodes were noted in 74% of all grafts. First acute rejection episodes had a moderate predictive value for graft loss (relative risk (RR), compared to rejection-free grafts, 5.9). First rejection episodes occurring later than 3 months after transplantation were considerably more predictive (RR 18.3) than early ones. Grafts from living related donors (n = 35) yielded a superior 5-yr graft survival (77%) and remained free of rejection more often than grafts from adult cadaveric donors(43% vs. 25%). The results of pre-emptive transplants were excellent (n = 13, 5-yr survival 100%). Repeat transplants had the same results as primary transplants. Recipients younger than 4 yrs showed a poor 5-yr graft survival of 38% (n = 13). Single kidney grafts from donors younger than 4 yrs (n = 35) had a 5-yr graft survival of 44%. In contrast, kidneys from these young donors did well if transplanted en bloc (n = 10, 5-yr graft survival 89%). These overall results are in line with those of others. The results may be improved by expansion of immunosuppressive therapy in the first year and by thrombosis prophylaxis in high-risk patient-donor combinations. Better results may be expected from more extensive use of living related donations, pre-emptive transplantation and en bloc transplantation instead of single kidneys of young donors.

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Pediatric Transplantation
Department of Surgery