Indexed on: 26 Nov '99Published on: 26 Nov '99Published in: Kidney International
Pulmonary infections, especially tuberculosis, are responsible for significant mortality and morbidity among renal transplant recipients in developing countries. Conventional diagnostic modalities are associated with a low yield, delaying specific therapy.All patients transplanted within a 1.5-year period were prospectively followed-up for one year. Patients were on a cyclosporine-based triple immunosuppressive regimen. None received isoniazid prophylaxis, and those transplanted in the last seven months of the study period received daily cotrimoxazole. Patients exhibiting unequivocal evidence of pulmonary infections underwent further evaluation. Search for offending organisms was made by sputum examination and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).. Thirty-nine infection episodes were recorded in 34 patients. M. tuberculosis was isolated during 10 episodes, pyogenic bacteria and Pneumocystis carinii in 6 each, candida in 4, aspergillus in 3, cytomegalovirus (CMV) in 3, and nocardia and mucor in one episode each. More than one organism was isolated during five episodes. Bacterial pneumonia and tuberculosis were diagnosed in another seven and two patients, respectively, on the basis of a therapeutic response to specific chemotherapy. Over two thirds of the organisms were identified by examination of BAL fluid. BAL was useful in the diagnosis of tuberculosis and P. carinii pneumonia but was relatively insensitive for CMV and bacterial infections. An increased frequency of acute rejection and higher serum creatinine were factors that predisposed to infections. All patients with pulmonary tuberculosis made a full recovery.Tuberculosis and P. carinii are the most common nonpyogenic infections in the first year after transplantation in developing countries. An aggressive search for tubercle bacilli should be made using bronchoscopy and examination of BAL fluid in patients not responding to a short trial of antibiotics. A four-drug regime without rifampicin given for 18 months is effective for pulmonary tuberculosis in patients on cyclosporine. We recommend routine prophylactic use of one single-strength tablet of cotrimoxazole daily for at least six months after transplantation.