Significant advances in cardiac intensive care including extracorporeal life support have enabled children with complex congenital heart disease and end-stage heart failure to be supported while awaiting transplantation. With an increasing number of survivors after heart transplantation in children, the complications from long-term immunosuppression, including renal insufficiency, are becoming more apparent. Severe renal dysfunction after heart transplant is defined by a serum creatinine level >2.5 mg/dL (221 μmol/L), and/or need for dialysis or renal transplant. The degree of renal dysfunction is variable and is progressive over time. About 3–10 % of heart transplant recipients will go on to develop severe renal dysfunction within the first 10 years post-transplantation. Multiple risk factors for chronic kidney disease post-transplant have been identified, which include pre-transplant worsening renal function, recipient demographics and morbidity, peri-transplant haemodynamics and long-term exposure to calcineurin inhibitors. Renal insufficiency increases the risk of post-transplant morbidity and mortality. Hence, screening for renal dysfunction pre-, peri- and post-transplantation is important. Early and timely detection of renal insufficiency may help minimize renal insults, and allow prompt implementation of renoprotective strategies. Close monitoring and pre-emptive management of renal dysfunction is an integral aspect of peri-transplant and subsequent post-transplant long-term care.
Pediatr Nephrol. 2015 Jun. 30(6):905-18.