Serum sickness following rabbit antithymocyte-globulin induction in a liver transplant recipient: case report and literature review.

Lundquist AL, Chari RS, Wood JH, Miller GG, Schaefer HM, Raiford DS, Wright KJ, Gorden DL
Liver Transpl. 2007 13 (5): 647-50

PMID: 17377915 · DOI:10.1002/lt.21098

Thymoglobulin (Genzyme, Cambridge, MA) is an antithymocyte globulin preparation used for induction immunosuppression therapy in solid organ transplantation. It is being utilized with increasing frequency in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in an effort to minimize or delay the use of calcineurin inhibitors due to their inherent nephrotoxicity. Experience with thymoglobulin in OLT remains limited. We report a case of serum sickness in a patient who received thymoglobulin following OLT. The patient experienced intermittent fevers, polyarthralgia, and acute renal failure 9 days after completion of thymoglobulin administration. The patient's symptoms resolved rapidly and completely with a course of intravenous steroids. We review a set of diagnostic criteria for serum sickness and emphasize the importance of early recognition of the process. Early treatment of serum sickness with steroids or plasmapheresis is highly effective and can reduce unnecessary morbidity from this unusual sequela of induction immunosuppression with antithymocyte globulin.

MeSH Terms (14)

Acute Kidney Injury Animals Antibodies, Monoclonal Antilymphocyte Serum Female Glucocorticoids Humans Injections, Intravenous Liver Transplantation Methylprednisolone Middle Aged Rabbits Serum Sickness Treatment Outcome

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