Association of Inflammatory Biomarkers with Immunosuppression Management and Outcomes in Kidney Transplant Recipients with COVID-19

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Background: Kidney transplant recipients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are at increased risk for adverse outcomes, such as acute kidney injury (AKI), intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and death. The association of inflammatory biomarkers with outcomes and the impact of changes in immunosuppression on biomarker levels are unknown. Methods: We investigated factors associated with a composite of AKI, ICU admission, or death, and whether immunosuppression changes correlated with changes in inflammatory biomarkers and outcomes in kidney transplant recipients with a positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction. Results: Of 59 patients, 50% had estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2. Patients who discontinued calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) had higher peak high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) than those who maintained the same dose (median, 344; interquartile range [IQR], 145-374 vs median, 41; IQR, 22-116 mg/L, P = .03). Of the patients, 73% were hospitalized, 22% had admissions to the ICU, and 20% died. Of the 56% with AKI, 35% required dialysis. All patients with AKI but without pulmonary manifestations recovered to 10% of baseline creatinine levels. Factors associated with the composite outcome were eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (odds ratio [OR], 5.833; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.880-18.099; P = .002), hs-CRP (OR, 1.011/unit increase; 95% CI, 1.002-1.021; P = .019), white blood cell count (OR, 1.173/unit increase; 95% CI, 1.006-1.368; P = .041), and decreased or discontinued CNI (OR, 4.286; 95% CI, 1.353-13.572; P = .013). eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (OR, 11.176; 95% CI, 1.581-79.001; P = .016), and peak hs-CRP (OR, 1.010/unit increase; 95% CI, 1.000-1.020; P = .049) remained associated with the composite in the multivariable model. Conclusions: Kidney transplant recipients with COVID-19 have high rates of ICU admissions, AKI, and death. Those with eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73 m2 are at highest risk. CNI reduction is associated with higher inflammatory biomarkers, correlating with worse outcomes. More studies are needed to determine if this association should drive clinical management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2451-2467
Number of pages17
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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