Variation in immunosuppression practices among pediatric liver transplant centers-Society of Pediatric Liver Transplantation survey results.

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DOI: 10.1111/petr.13873


BACKGROUND: Variation in IS exists among pediatric liver transplant centers. While individual centers may publish their practice paradigms, current data on practices as a whole are lacking. This study sought to ascertain the IS protocols of pediatric liver transplant centers within the SPLIT to better understand variability and similarities among peer institutions.

METHODS: A 27-item questionnaire was developed within the SPLIT Quality Improvement and Clinical Care Committee. The survey collected data regarding center demographics, IS practices, and treatment of acute cellular rejection.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight (64%) SPLIT centers responded with 22 (79%) centers performing more than 10 transplants per year and 17 (61%) following more than 100 post-transplant recipients. All centers use a written protocol, and 25 (89%) have a dedicated transplant pharmacist/PharmD. Twenty-five (89%) centers use steroids for induction alone or in combination with thymoglobulin/interleukin-2 antibodies. All centers use tacrolimus for initial maintenance therapy. Most centers have specialized protocols for ABO-incompatible transplants, recipients with renal dysfunction, autoimmune liver diseases, and liver tumors. Treatment of rejection varied but was associated with escalation in IS.

CONCLUSION: IS practices among pediatric liver transplant centers are similar including the use of written protocols, pharmacy involvement, steroids for induction, tacrolimus as initial IS, tacrolimus reduction/delay for renal dysfunction, and escalation of IS with rejection severity. However, other IS practices show wide variability including treatment for ABO-incompatible grafts and presumed rejection. This study serves as a foundation to guide prospective research linking IS practice to outcomes to determine best practice.

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Pediatric transplantation





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SPLIT; immunosuppression; liver transplant; pediatric

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