Hypothesis: Steroid avoidance is possible in simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation with the use of newer immunosuppressive agents and induction therapy. Design: A retrospective consecutive case review. Setting: A university tertiary referral center. Patients: Medical records of 40 consecutive patients who underwent pancreas-kidney transplantation from November 2000 to July 2002 were reviewed. Intervention: The immunosuppression protocol used in this series of patients consisted of Thymoglobulin induction combined with mycophenolate mofetil, tacrolimus, and sirolimus for maintenance immunosuppression. Steroids were used as pretreatment only, given with Thymoglobulin, and were typically discontinued by post-operative week 1. Main Outcome Measures: Graft and patient survival rates, rejection rates of the kidney or pancreas, infection rates, and surgical complication rates. Results: Patient, kidney, and pancreas survival rates were 95.0%, 92.5%, and 87.5%, respectively. Biopsy-proven pancreas rejection rates at 1 and 3 months' posttransplantation were 2.5%. Kidney rejection rates at 1 and 3 months were 2.5%. Steroids were given only to patients with documented transplant rejection. Surgical and medical complications were no different from earlier protocols. Conclusions: Immunosuppression protocols that do not include maintenance steroids have shown minimal rejection in the first 3 months and equivalent patient and graft survival rates compared with protocols that use steroids. The potential beneficial long-term impact of steroid avoidance will require further study.
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