Pediatric and adult kidney transplantation differ in many ways, but one of the most significant differences is the impact of kidney disease and kidney transplantation on growth and development in pediatric patients. Multiple facets of transplantation may have an impact on growth and development, including the timing of transplantation, choice of immunosuppressive agents, and the presence of hypertension. In addition, graft function has a significant impact on linear growth, and so preservation of function becomes important not only for general health and quality of life but also for optimizing growth. Other concerns in pediatric kidney transplantation include a heightened risk for posttransplantation infectious complications, including lymphoproliferative disease. In addition, the impact of immunosuppressive drugs on adherence to therapy is important. Although adherence is a complex and multifactorial process, immunosuppressive drugs that cause physical side effects may contribute to drug nonadherence because children, and particularly adolescents, may be inclined to stop taking medications associated with physical changes that differentiate them from their peers. Studies that further delineate factors that affect growth and development, risk for infectious complications, and nonadherence will be important to maximize outcomes in pediatric kidney transplantation.
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