Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kidney Biopsy in Heart Transplant Candidates?

A recent study in Transplantation highlights this issue in detail. Lot of times we have patients with severe CHF and are also going into acute renal failure due to pre renal or what we are now calling cardio renal syndrome sort of in the same fashion as hepatorenal syndrome? When do we think its just ATN or when is it intrinsic renal disease? When can we say this patient needs just a heart transplant and when a combined heart and kidney?

In this study, thirty heart transplant candidates with an GFR < 40 mL/min or proteinuria greater than 500 mg/day or a history of amyloidosis underwent kidney biopsies between June 2001 and March 2009. The renal pathologic diagnosis as well as the percent tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis on renal biopsy were assessed. On the basis of the biopsy results, nine patients were listed for only heart transplantation and eight patients were listed for heart and kidney.
Based on this small study, the conclusion was that renal biopsy provides useful diagnostic information to differentiate intrinsic renal disease from renal hypoperfusion and helps guide the decision for OHT alone versus combined HKT.
I think that it makes sense but the sample size here is too small to make a general statement. In general, clinically if the patient is not behaving like CHF induced hypoperfusion, most of us will get a kidney biopsy to make sure no other cause is lingering around.

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