Until recently, HIV-infected patients have been excluded from consideration for solid organ transplantation. The relatively high mortality rates among HIV-infected transplant recipients observed in the era prior to the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), coupled with long waiting times for cadaveric organs, made it difficult to support organ transplantation in this patient group. However, in response to the marked reductions in morbidity and mortality associated with HIV infection, several transplant centers have developed pilot studies or revised their clinical criteria to allow transplantation in this group of patients. We describe two cases, one kidney and one liver transplant recipient, and review the major clinical and research issues related to this topic. Reports of transplantations in the pre-HAART era highlight two important findings. First, some HIV-infected transplant recipients did very well with long survival periods. However, overall progression to AIDS and death appeared accelerated. We recently reported on our preliminary experience with 45 selected transplant recipients in the HAART era. One-year patient survival rates were similar to unmatched survival data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database. Median CD4+ T-cell counts remained stable in the follow-up period compared to pretransplant. HIV-1 RNA nearly uniformly continued to be suppressed below the limits of detection. Preliminary data are promising and support the current efforts to evaluate patient and graft survival among HIV-infected transplant recipients and to explore the mechanisms underlying the many potential complications of transplantation in this population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Leadership and Management