Promising Results Reported for Organ Transplants in HIV-infected Patients

February 27, 2002
News Office: Jeff Sheehy (415) 597-8165

Seattle -- Early findings from a multi-site study led by UCSF investigators show that 95 percent of the HIV-infected patients in the study who received kidney transplants and 84 percent who received liver transplants in this era of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART), are surviving nearly one year post-transplant. These rates are comparable to non-HIV-infected kidney and liver transplant recipients for the same period.

The study, which looked at 41 HIV-infected patients who have received liver and kidney transplants, also showed comparable rates for grafted organ function with 89 percent of the kidney grafts and 84 percent of the liver grafts functioning nearly one year post-transplant in the HIV-infected recipients. The findings, collected retrospectively from UCSF and collaborating transplant centers around the country, were presented at the 9th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

"HIV disease does not seem to be progressing at an appreciable rate post-transplant in eligible subjects -- those without a history of opportunistic infections, with relatively preserved CD4 T-cell counts, and suppressed or suppressible HIV virus," said the study's lead investigator, Dr. Michelle E. Roland, UCSF assistant professor of medicine in the Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.

"With the caveats that this data is retrospective -- a prospective study is in process -- and very preliminary, we can say that the news so far is extremely good for those subjects who met the eligible subject criteria," said study co-investigator Dr. Peter G. Stock, UCSF Medical Center organ transplant surgeon.

"In addition, we noted data on eight HIV-infected subjects who received transplants -- six kidney, two liver -- but who did not meet the study eligibility criteria and were not part of the 41 included in the study. Two -- one liver recipient and one kidney recipient -- of those patients died," said Roland.

Of the 19 study-eligible patients who received liver transplants, 16 have survived.

Twenty-one of the 22 study-eligible patients who received kidneys have survived. The comparable rates for non-HIV-infected patients from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the government-funded clearinghouse that keeps the waiting lists governing who gets organs, were 87.9 percent survival rates for liver recipients, 94.8 percent for recipients of kidneys from cadavers and 97.6 percent for recipients of kidneys from a living donor.

This study was supported by grants from the University-Wide AIDS Research Program of the State of California and the National Institutes for Health.