The impact of hypoalbuminemia in kidney-pancreas transplant recipients.
BACKGROUND: Hypoalbuminemia is associated with poorer outcomes in renal transplantation. Diabetes can compound hypoalbuminemia's detrimental effects. Kidney-pancreas transplantation alters the diabetic milieu; yet, some patients continue to be hypoalbuminemic. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 232 patients who underwent simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplantation (SPK) between 1993 and 1997 to determine the incidence and clinical correlates of hypoalbuminemia in SPK recipients. Post-SPK hypoalbuminemia was defined as a serum albumin level < or =3.5 g/dl. Univariate analyses were performed to determine whether post-SPK hypoalbuminemia was associated with pre-SPK variables. The effect of albumin level and hypoalbuminemia on the risk of post-SPK events (cardiac events, cytomegalovirus [CMV] infection, rejection, readmission, kidney and pancreas graft failure, and death) was examined with a Cox proportional hazards model. RESULTS: The study population consisted of 149 men and 83 women. Average follow-up was 2.0+/-1.3 years. Hypoalbuminemia (serum albumin level < or =3.5 g/dL) was most common early after SPK (3 months: 44% of evaluable patients were hypoalbuminemic; 12 months: 15.3%; 36 months: 8.3%). Acute rejection episodes and readmission were the most common adverse events after SPK transplantation. There were 24 episodes of renal allograft loss and only 5 cardiac events. Ten SPK recipients died during the study time period. SPK-related hypoalbuminemia was associated with an increased risk for CMV infection (risk ratio [RR] 2.5; P<0.02), renal graft failure (RR 2.41; P=0.05), pancreas graft failure (RR 3.66; P=0.01), and a trend toward an increased risk for death (RR 2.8; P=0.19). CONCLUSIONS: Post-SPK hypoalbuminemia resolves over time in many patients. Persistent post-SPK hypoalbuminemia is associated with an increased risk for CMV infection, graft loss, and a trend toward decreased survival. Efforts to improve nutrition, as it may affect hypoalbuminemia in SPK recipients, may be one strategy for improving SPK outcomes.
Becker, BN; Becker, YT; Heisey, DM; Leverson, GE; Collins, BH; Odorico, JS; D'Alessandro, AM; Knechtle, SJ; Pirsch, JD; Sollinger, HW
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