Immunosuppression: Practice and trends

Dixon B. Kaufman, Ron Shapiro, Michael R. Lucey, Wida S. Cherikh, Rami T. Bustami, David B. Dyke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, immunosuppression therapy has undergone striking changes in the scale and pace by which new immunosuppressive molecules and antibodies have become incorporated into daily transplant medicine. An organ-by-organ review of data reveals several trends. The highest use of induction therapy (over 70% of patients) was reported for simultaneous pancreas kidney (SPK) and pancreas after kidney (PAK) transplants in 2002; use of induction therapy was less common in liver transplants (only 18%). Corticosteroids served as discharge maintenance immunosuppression in over 87% of the recipients of kidney, SPK, PAK and thoracic transplants, and in over 70% of pancreas transplant alone (PTA) recipients. Corticosteroid use in intestine transplants was reported in 64% of recipients in 2002. A shift in the calcineurin inhibitor used for maintenance immunosuppression from cyclosporine to tacrolimus for the majority of patients had occurred for kidney, PAK, SPK, PTA, liver, lung, and heart-lung by 2001. For heart transplants, cyclosporine remained the calcineurin inhibitor of choice; tacrolimus remained the predominant calcineurin inhibitor agent for intestine (since 1994). Use of antibody treatment for rejection during the first post-transplant year for most organs declined. Short-term outcomes have improved, based on the observation that rates of rejection within the first year post-transplant have diminished.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-53
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue numberSUPPL. 9
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Antirejection treatment
  • Immunosuppression
  • Induction therapy
  • Maintenance immunosuppression
  • SRTR
  • Transplantation


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