Immunosuppressive therapy as a determinant of transplantation outcomes

Roger W. Evans, Diane L. Manninen, Frederick B. Dong, Nancy L. Ascher, William H. Frist, John A. Hansen, James K. Kirklin, James D. Perkins, John D. Pirsch, Fred P. Sanfilippo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Although surgical proficiency is essential to the immediate outcome of transplantation, long-term success depends upon how adequately the transplantation recipient is managed. Immunosuppression, the most critical aspect of after care, is subject to wide variation. In January 1990, a survey was sent to the directors of all transplant programs in the United States performing one or more kidney, heart, liver, heart-lung, or pancreas transplant in 1988. Detailed data were obtained on both the drugs and methods used for induction and maintenance immunosuppression, as well as the treatment of rejection. Each program director was asked to rank each immunosuppressive approach according to its perceived impact on patient outcomes. Over 85% of all eligible program directors completed the survey. There is no evidence of survey respondent bias. The use of polyclonal and monoclonal agents for induction immunosuppression was favored most by pancreas program directors (72-76%). These agents were least preferred by liver transplant programs (35-37%). About half of kidney, heart, and heart-lung program directors preferred these agents. Triple-drug therapy consisting of CsA, PRED, and AZA was considered the most preferable maintenance protocol for all transplants (i.e., kidney, 89%; heart, 94%; liver, 88%; heart-lung, 86% pancreas, 96%). Either i.v. steroids or OKT3 were regarded as the preferred approaches for the treatment of acute or resistant rejection. Finally, the acceptability of outpatient treatment of rejection varied by transplant type (i.e., kidney, 9%; heart, 58%; liver, 5%; heart-lung, 29%; pancreas, 8%). Although there are similarities in the ratings of various aspects of immunosuppressive therapy, there are important differences. This information is critical to anticipate the implications of new immunosuppressive agents and to evaluate changes in the use of existing drugs and therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1297-1305
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Immunology


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