Sirolimus is used in heart transplant patients with CAV and CNI-induced nephropathy. However, little is known regarding the tolerability, rejection rate, and effect on renal function when used empirically in children. We describe our experience with the empiric use of a sirolimus-based immunosuppressive regimen in pediatric heart transplantation recipients. We reviewed records of patients in whom conversion was attempted to a CNI-free sirolimus-based regimen. Rejection episodes and measures of renal function were recorded. We attempted to convert 20 patients, of which 16 were successful. In total, six of 20 patients (30%) experienced adverse effects. Of the 16 converted, four patients converted to sirolimus due to CNI-induced disease (three nephropathy, one CAV), while 12 patients (mean age 5.5 yr, range 0.1-21 yr; 33% female; 33% with a history of congenital heart disease) were empirically switched to sirolimus at a mean of 2.3 yr after transplant. Follow-up was available for a mean of 2.5 yr after conversion (range 0.5-8.3 yr). The rate of rejection while taking CNIs was 0.18 rejection episodes per patient-year (total of five episodes), compared with 0.03 rejection episodes per patient-year (total of one episode) while on sirolimus. Renal function, in terms of GFR, significantly improved after sirolimus conversion at latest follow-up (from 86 ± 37 mL/min to 130 ± 49 mL/min, p = 0.02). Here, we demonstrate the potential benefit of empiric use of sirolimus in pediatric heart transplant patients in a CNI-free regimen. Larger and longer studies are needed to further clarify risks of rejection and adverse effect profiles.
- heart transplantation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health