Study Finds Significant Benefits of Kidney Transplant for Lupus Nephritis Patients

According to a story from 2 Minute Medicine, a recent analysis found that patients with lupus nephritis saw their risk of death decrease by 70 percent on average after receiving a kidney transplant. As this disease can often progress to kidney failure, transplant has been considered an option for these patients in the past, but there have also been some reservations about the procedure because of the potential risk of infection or allograft failure. However, this data appears to indicate that the benefits outweigh the risks for most patients.

About Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is a medical complication characterized by kidney inflammation which can appear as a result of systemic lupus erythematosus, more commonly known as lupus. In effect is a form of glomerulonephritis, but this form is linked specifically to lupus and has notable differences in outcomes and presentation. Lupus nephritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. The cause of lupus and lupus nephritis is not well understood, with a variety of genetic and environmental factors possibly playing a role. Symptoms of the disease include swelling, fever, foamy urine, joint pain, high blood pressure, muscle pain, and the characteristic butterfly rash that also appears with systemic lupus. Treatment usually involves the use of immune system suppressing drugs such as corticosteroids, but when the disease progresses to kidney failure, kidney transplant is the best option. To learn more about lupus nephritis, click here.

About The Study

This analysis looked at practically all patients within a period from 1995 to 2014 whose disease had progressed to lupus nephritis end stage renal disease. This ultimately included data from a total of 9659 patients. Of this group 59 percent eventually received a kidney transplant. Their overall risk of death decreased by 70 percent. This included a decreased risk of death from infection and a 74 percent decrease in risk of death from cardiovascular problems. 

This study helps clarify that kidney transplant can be a good option for patients with lupus nephritis who are not responding to other therapies and have seen their disease progress to end stage renal disease. These results should help guide treatment approaches going forward as well as initiatives seeking to improve access to kidney transplants.

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