Thirty-one episodes of biopsy-proved acute rejection (R) in 28 patients maintained on cyclosporine did not respond to high-dose steroids an were treated with antilymphocyte globulin (ALG). Cyclosporine was discontinued in all but three during ALG administration. (A) Twenty-four patients received 26 courses of ALG within 90 days of transplant (11 1st R, 15 2nd or 3rd). Seven treatment courses were cut short due to infection (4), ongoing R (2) and a combination of infection and rejection (1). Only 1 of 7 has a functioning graft. Of the remaining 19 full ALG courses (17 patients) (8 1st R, 11 2nd or 3rd), 13 (11 patients) responded (7 1st R, 6 >1st). The remaining 6 Five patients were treated after 6 months posttransplant; two responded but no grafts currently function. (c) Overall 7 patients developed systemic infection (7 viruses, 1 Candida) with 1 death, and 2 additional patients developed severe thrombocytopenia an leukopenia. Patients responding to their ALG course were restarted on cyclosporine. We conclude that ALG is not as effective I reversing steroid-resistant rejection in patients maintained on cyclosporine. We conclude that ALG is not as effective in reversing steroid-resistant rejection in patients maintained on cyclosporine as it has been in patients maintained on azathioprine. However, more than 50% of steroid-resistant rejection episodes are reversed.
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