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Special Considerations in Pediatric Kidney Transplantation

  • Sean A. Hebert
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Sean A. Hebert, Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), 6431 Fannin Street, MSB 3-121, Houston, TX 77030.
    Affiliations
    Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Immunology and Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgery, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; and Department of Pediatric Urology, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX
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  • Rita D. Swinford
    Affiliations
    Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Immunology and Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgery, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; and Department of Pediatric Urology, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX
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  • David R. Hall
    Affiliations
    Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Immunology and Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgery, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; and Department of Pediatric Urology, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX
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  • Jason K. Au
    Affiliations
    Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Immunology and Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgery, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; and Department of Pediatric Urology, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX
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  • John S. Bynon
    Affiliations
    Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; Division of Immunology and Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgery, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX; and Department of Pediatric Urology, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX
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      Universally accepted as the treatment of choice for children needing renal replacement therapy, kidney transplantation affords children the opportunity for an improved quality of life over dialysis therapy. Immunologic and surgical advances over the last 15 years have improved the pediatric patient and kidney graft survival. Unique to pediatrics, congenital genitourinary anomalies are the most common primary diseases leading to kidney failure, many with urological issues. Early urological evaluation for post-transplant bladder dysfunction and emphasis on immunization adherence are the mainstays of pediatric pretransplant and post-transplant evaluations. A child's height can be challenging, sometimes requiring an intra-abdominally placed graft, particularly if the patient is <20 kg. Maintenance immunosuppression regimens are similar to adult kidney graft recipients, although distinctive pharmacokinetics may change dosing intervals in children from twice a day to thrice a day. Viral infections and secondary malignancies are problematic for children relative to adults. Current trends to reduce/remove corticosteroid therapy from post-transplant protocols have produced improved linear growth with less steroid toxicity; although these studies are still ongoing, graft function and survival are considered acceptable. Finally, all children with a kidney transplant need a smooth transition to adult clinics. Future research in pertinent psychosocial aspects and continued technological advances will only serve to optimize the transition process. Although some aspects of kidney transplantation are similar in children and adults, for instance immunosuppression and immunosuppressive regimens, and rejection mechanisms and their diagnosis using the Banff criteria, there are important differences this review will focus on and which continue to drive innovation.

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