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Graft-versus-host disease after solid organ transplantation: A single center experience and review of literature

Amit Sharma, Amy E. Armstrong, Marc P . Posner, Pamela M. Kimball, Adrian H. Cotterell, Anne L. King, Robert A. Fisher, Kamar Godder

Ann Transplant 2012; 17(4): 133-139

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.883704

Published: 2012-12-31


Background:    Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is an uncommon cause of morbidity and mortality after solid organ transplantation that is most likely under-diagnosed. We describe our single center experience with three cases of GVHD diagnosed over a period of 15 years in a total of 2,271 solid organ transplant recipients.
    Case Reports:    We describe three case reports: (1) a 3-week old neonate who developed GVHD 16 months after living-related liver transplant, (2) a 14-year old adolescent who developed GVHD 4 months following an unrelated cadaveric pancreas transplant and; (3) a 27-year old male who developed GVHD 18 days after simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant from an unrelated donor. GVHD was confirmed through skin biopsies, engraftment profile from bone marrow biopsy and variable number tandem repeat analysis. Treatment strategies included use of corticosteroids and sirolimus monotherapy, corticosteroids and mesenchymal stromal cell therapy and reduction of immunosuppression. We observed that African-American race, sexual and HLA mismatching and cytomegalovirus infection may be high risk factors for development of GVHD following solid organ transplant.
    Conclusions:    GVHD continues to be a rare but fatal complication following solid organ transplantation that demands a high index of clinical suspicion for diagnosis and management. Future approaches may focus on early recognition of risk factors and improving treatment protocols using a combination of mesenchymal stromal cell transplantation with pharmacotherapy.

Keywords: Kidney Transplantation, living donor liver transplantation,, Graft Versus Host Disease, Pancreas Transplantation, immunosuppression



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