Early Steroid Withdrawal in Deceased-Donor Kidney Transplant Recipients with Delayed Graft Function

Sunjae Bae, Jacqueline M Garonzik Wang, Allan B Massie, Kyle R Jackson, Mara A McAdams-DeMarco, Daniel C Brennan, Krista L Lentine, Josef Coresh, Dorry L Segev
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: JASN 2020, 31 (1): 175-185

BACKGROUND: Early steroid withdrawal (ESW) is associated with acceptable outcomes in kidney transplant (KT) recipients. Recipients with delayed graft function (DGF), however, often have a suboptimal allograft milieu, which may alter the risk/benefit equation for ESW. This may contribute to varying practices across transplant centers.

METHODS: Using the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, we studied 110,019 adult deceased-donor KT recipients between 2005 and 2017. We characterized the association of DGF with the use of ESW versus continued steroid maintenance across KT centers, and quantified the association of ESW with acute rejection, graft failure, and mortality using multivariable logistic and Cox regression with DGF-ESW interaction terms.

RESULTS: Overall 29.2% of KT recipients underwent ESW. Recipients with DGF had lower odds of ESW (aOR=0.60 0.670.75 ). The strength of this association varied across 261 KT centers, with center-specific aOR of <0.5 at 31 (11.9%) and >1.0 at 22 (8.4%) centers. ESW was associated with benefits and harms among recipients with immediate graft function (IGF), but only with harms among recipients with DGF. ESW was associated with increased acute rejection (aOR=1.09 1.161.23 ), slightly increased graft failure (aHR=1.01 1.061.12 ), but decreased mortality (aHR=0.86 0.890.93 ) among recipients with IGF. Among recipients with DGF, ESW was associated with a similar increase in rejection (aOR=1.12; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.23), a more pronounced increase in graft failure (aHR=1.16; 95% CI, 1.08 to 1.26), and no improvement in mortality (aHR=1.00; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.07). DGF-ESW interaction was statistically significant for graft failure ( P =0.04) and mortality ( P =0.003), but not for rejection ( P =0.6).

CONCLUSIONS: KT centers in the United States use ESW inconsistently in recipients with DGF. Our findings suggest ESW may lead to worse KT outcomes in recipients with DGF.

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