Long-term follow-up after total lymphoid irradiation in pediatric heart transplant recipients JOURNAL OF HEART AND LUNG TRANSPLANTATION Chin, C., Hunt, S., Robbins, R., Hoppe, R., Reitz, B., Bernstein, D. 2002; 21 (6): 667-673


Total lymphoid irradiation (TLI) is used to treat recurrent allograft rejection. Short-term success and complication rates have been reported in pediatric and adult cardiac transplant populations. We report the long-term efficacy and safety of TLI in treating intractable rejection in pediatric patients.Eight pediatric patients were treated with TLI (7 for recurrent rejection, 1 for risk of medication non-compliance). Therapy consisted of a mid-plane dose of 8 Gy administered with a 6-MeV linear accelerator using an anterior-posterior opposed technique. We reviewed outcomes for a total of 40 patient-years of follow-up.We encountered rejection (>Grade 2 by International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation criteria) in 56.7% +/- 34.7% of biopsies performed within 90 days before TLI. Rejection rates dropped to 3.1% +/- 8.8% within the first 90 days (p < 0.005) after therapy and remained low at 5.6% +/- 1.3% (p < 0.05) during the first year after completion of TLI. Median time from TLI to the first subsequent rejection episode was 305 days (range, 77-1,920 days). Long-term follow-up (>3 years) of 5 patients demonstrated a continuing low incidence of rejection. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was diagnosed in 1 of 8 patients, graft coronary artery disease in 4 of 8 patients, and restrictive cardiomyopathy in 1 of 8 patients after TLI.Total lymphoid irradiation is an effective treatment for recurrent rejection and has short- and long-term efficacy. Morbid events may include cancer, graft coronary artery disease, and restrictive cardiomyopathy.

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