The use of recombinant human activated protein C (drotrecogin alpha) in solid organ transplant recipients: case series and review of the literature.
Septic shock occurs frequently in solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients. Standard therapy includes fluid resuscitation, the administration of antimicrobials, and source control of the infection. Adjunctive therapy with recombinant human activated protein C (rhaPC), also called drotrecogin alpha, is another treatment that is used in patients but has not been studied in SOT patients. Concerns regarding the use of this drug in this patient population include the risk of bleeding and the potential to adversely affect graft survival. Here we report the largest case series of SOT recipients with septic shock who received rhaPC. This was a retrospective chart review that looked at the impact of this drug in the SOT population. In this single-center study, we identified 17 patients with a SOT and septic shock who received rhaPC. Six of the patients underwent kidney transplants, 5 received lung transplants, 4 received cadaveric liver transplants, and 2 received combined kidney/pancreas transplants. The average APACHE II score was 26.6 ± 5.5; all patients were undergoing mechanical ventilation and receiving vasopressors at the time of rhaPC administration. Overall mortality in the group was 23.5% (4/17) at 28 days post infusion. All of the deaths were due to complications of septic shock. Allograft survival was present in 13/17 (76.5%) of the patients at 28 days. Bleeding occurred in 17.6% of patients (3/17). The use of rhaPC appears to be associated with a favorable effect on mortality, with the potential for increased risk of bleeding. Clinicians must balance this risk with the potential benefit of this drug until further research can be conducted.
Funk, DJ; Palma Vargas, J; Tuttle-Newhall, J; Moretti, EW
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