Posttransplant erythrocytosis: case report and review of newer treatment modalities.


A case of posttransplant erythrocytosis in a 51-year-old diabetic man is described. This problem, which can occur in 5 to 15% of renal transplant patients, can result from a contracted plasma volume (diuretics, pressure natriuresis, or glycosuria) or from a true elevation in red blood cell mass. Once the diagnosis of true erythrocytosis is made by a radiolabeled red blood cell mass study, secondary causes such as hypoxia, liver disease, polycythemia rubra vera, renal artery stenosis, and cystic kidney disease should be excluded. Posttransplant erythrocytosis has only been observed in renal transplant recipients and appears to be more frequent with cyclosporine compared with azathioprine therapy. An inappropriately high level of erythropoietin has been described in some, but not all patients, suggesting stimulation of erythropoietin production as the mechanism. Posttransplant erythrocytosis can be associated with an increased incidence of thrombotic events. The presence of this potential complication has prompted intervention to maintain the hematocrit below 50 to 55%. Measures such as discontinuation of diuretics as well as better control of blood pressure and plasma glucose should be used to facilitate the correction of extracellular volume contraction. Phlebotomy has been the most accepted intervention to intermittently lower the hematocrit when needed, but this can lead to iron deficiency. Newer therapeutic modalities are now being used to treat the problem medically. Theophylline, which reduces adenosine-mediated erythropoietin synthesis, is effective but may be associated with side effects.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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@article{Perazella1993PosttransplantEC, title={Posttransplant erythrocytosis: case report and review of newer treatment modalities.}, author={Mark A . Perazella and Margaret Johnson Bia}, journal={Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN}, year={1993}, volume={3 10}, pages={1653-9} }