The utility of surveillance biopsies in pediatric kidney transplantation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Surveillance biopsies (SBs) are performed in some pediatric kidney transplant programs, based on data obtained in earlier immunosuppressive eras that the treatment of subclinical acute rejection results in better graft survival. The benefit of SBs for patients on modern immunosuppression regimens is unclear. We have therefore evaluated the clinical utility of SBs in a population of children receiving a kidney transplant. Methods: We have performed SBs at 3, 6 and 12 months post-transplantation as standard of care at our institution since 2013 in patients on a regimen of rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin, tacrolimus, mycophenolate and rapid steroid taper (RST; steroids maintained in some exceptions). We reviewed pathology reports of 82 SBs from 34 transplants in 34 children for all abnormal findings and adequacy of specimens. Clinical records were reviewed for changes in management resulting from SB findings and for significant procedure complications. Results: Of the 82 biopsies, 41 (50%) had abnormal findings separate from fibrosis, including five Banff Grade I rejections, ten borderline rejections, six calcineurin-inhibitor nephrotoxicity, four BK-virus nephropathy, five recurrent disease and three acute pyelonephritis. Moderate or more fibrosis was present in nine of the 82 (11%) biopsies. Management changes due to SB findings occurred in nine cases (11.0%). The proportion of abnormal findings or management changes did not differ between the RST or steroid-based groups. Patients performing clean intermittent catheterization showed inflammatory changes often read as rejection, but were managed differently. Three biopsies were deemed inadequate. No significant complications occurred. Conclusions: A high percentage of the SBs performed under modern immunosuppression showed abnormal findings even when fibrosis was excluded. However, management changes due to the SB findings were less frequent, although they occurred in a clinically meaningful percentage of cases. Complications or inadequate specimens were rare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-895
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Acute rejection
  • BK virus
  • Kidney
  • Pediatrics
  • Surveillance biopsies
  • Transplant


Dive into the research topics of 'The utility of surveillance biopsies in pediatric kidney transplantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this