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Reflux nephropathy in transplants

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Malcolm Coulthard


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Reflux nephropathy, renal scarring after urine infection, typically occurs in infancy. Although vesicoureteric reflux occurs commonly in kidney allografts, grafts have not previously been regarded as likely to be affected by reflux nephropathy, perhaps because older kidneys are considered to have matured out of the risk. Evidence that adult pigs remain at risk of reflux nephropathy challenges that assumption. We therefore reviewed the pathological findings in allograft nephrectomy specimens to look for evidence of reflux nephropathy, and sought evidence of focal transplant renal scarring in paediatric recipients who had a urine infection and vesicoureteric reflux. Consecutive allograft nephrectomy specimens (146) that had been removed between 1990 and 1999 were examined for evidence of reflux nephropathy, and relevant case notes were reviewed. Also, children with a renal transplant who had a urine infection were investigated for focal scarring by dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scanning and for reflux with a cystogram. Four transplanted kidneys from adult donors that were removed from adult recipients had developed changes consistent with reflux nephropathy. Of these, 3 also had definite evidence and I probable evidence of a glomerulopathy associated with hyperfiltration due to reduced renal mass. All 4 patients had had recurrent urine infection and the 2 assessed had had vesicoureteric reflux. Two children with renal transplants that also had urine infections and vesicoureteric reflux to their graft were shown to have sustained focal damage on DMSA scan, confirmed as reflux nephropathy scarring on biopsy in I case. The grafts were aged 14.4 years and over 16 years at the time of scarring. Reflux nephropathy can occur in previously healthy adult human kidneys after transplantation. Previous studies of the effect of vesicoureteric reflux on renal allografts were not designed to assess the possibility of mild or focal scarring.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Howie AJ, Buist LJ, Coulthard MG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pediatric Nephrology

Year: 2002

Volume: 17

Issue: 7

Pages: 485-490

ISSN (print): 0931-041X

ISSN (electronic): 1432-198X

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00467-002-0879-1


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