Renal transplantation today
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The first successful renal transplant was carried out more than five decades ago between identical twins. At these early days, acute rejection was the limiting factor.
Due to tremendous progress in immunosuppressive therapy and surgical technique, today, renal transplantation is the gold standard therapy for patients with end-stage renal disease. In fact, in comparison with chronic hemodialysis, renal transplantation offers an increase in quality of life while reducing comorbidities associated with dialysis treatment.
Despite numerous beneficial achievements, no further improvement regarding patient outcome can be observed over the last two decades. Graft survival rates remain unchanged. The leading causes for graft loss are chronic allograft nephropathy and death with functioning graft. This might be related to a constant increase of the proportion of donors presenting extended donor criteria as well as a more liberal acceptance of candidates for a renal transplant.
In the near future, one has to focus more closely on the posttransplant patient care to minimize factors associated with chronic allograft damage. These include post-transplant diabetes, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, cytomegalovirus infection, etc.