Tacrolimus as a rescue immunosuppressant after heart transplantation

Michele De Bonis, Lindsay Reynolds, Junnet Barros, Brendan P. Madden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of this retrospective study is to review our experience with tacrolimus as a rescue immunosuppressant for heart transplant recipients with refractory rejection or cyclosporine intolerance. Methods: From June 1995 to November 1998, 15 cardiac transplant recipients were converted from our standard cyclosporine-based immunosuppressive regimen to a tacrolimus-based treatment. Each patient had been treated with cyclosporine, azathioprine and steroids. Six were switched to tacrolimus for persistent rejection, four for recurrent acute rejection and five for severe debilitating side-effects attributed to cyclosporine. All ten patients converted to tacrolimus because of rejection had been treated with high-dose methylprednisolone intravenously and four had also received anti-lymphocyte globulin (ALG; one patient) or anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG; three patients) preparations. Results: The time between transplantation and conversion to tacrolimus ranged from 44 to 1866 (median, 380) days. The range of follow-up after conversion was 84-1379 (median, 806) days. Eleven patients are alive with a follow-up period of 764±435 (median, 820) days. Four patients died between 90 and 930 (median, 464) days after conversion. The average number of episodes of acute rejection/recipient decreased from 2.1±1.6 on the cyclosporine regimen to 0.2±0.4 on the tacrolimus regimen (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-695
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Heart transplantation, Refractory rejection
  • Rescue immunosuppression
  • Tacrolimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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