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Summary: Background Many patients with circulating antibodies to human leucocyte antigens (anti-HLA) are highly sensitised against renal transplantation and are liable to immediate graft loss through hyperacute rejection. Our aim was to find out whether removal of anti-HLA immediately before renal transplantation prevented hyperacute graft rejection.

Methods 13 highly sensitised patients underwent cadaveric renal transplants immediately after immunoadsorption (IA) treatment to remove anti-HLA. Before 1A, 12 patients had a positive crossmatch against donor cells either by cytotoxic or flow-cytometric assay; results for one patient were equivocal.

Findings Renal biopsy samples were obtained 20 min after removal of the vascular clamps in nine patients.There was no evidence of hyperacute rejection in six of the nine patients; the other three patients showed glomerular thrombosis but no other evidence of hyperacute rejection. Two of these three grafts were functioning at 31 months of follow-up. Six episodes of acute rejection occurred in five patients during the first month after transplantation and overall there were 13 rejection episodes in nine patients. At latest follow-up (median 26 months, range 9-42), 12 of 13 patients were alive and seven of 13 grafts were surviving with a median plasma creatinine concentration of 185 micromole/L (range 106-296) in the functioning grafts. No graft was lost as a result of classic hyperacute rejection.

Interpretation Immediate pretransplant IA can prevent hyperacute rejection and provide an opportunity for successful transplantation in highly sensitised patients.

Lancet 1996; 348: 1208-11

Copyright. (C) The Lancet Ltd, 1996.