INTRODUCTION: In sensitized deceased donor kidney allograft recipients, the most frequent induction therapy is anti-thymocyte globulins (ATG), including Thymoglobulin® (Thymo) and ATG-Fresenius (ATG-F).
METHODS: We conducted a 3-year monocentric observational study to compare the impact of ATGs on hematological parameters. We included adult kidney transplant recipients treated with ATG induction therapy, either Thymo or ATG-F, on a one-in-two basis. The primary endpoint was red blood cell (RBC) transfusions within 14 days after transplantation.
RESULTS: Among 309 kidney allograft recipients, 177 (57.2%) received ATG induction, 90 (50.8 %) ATG-F, and 87 (49.2%) Thymo. The ATG-F group received significantly more RBC transfusions (63.3% vs. 46% p = 0.02) and in bigger volumes (p = 0.01). Platelet transfusion was similar in both groups. Within 14 and 30 days after transplantation, older age, ATG-F induction, and early surgical complication were independently associated with RBC transfusion. Patient survival rate was 95%, and the death-censored kidney allograft survival rate was 91.5% at 12 months post-transplantation. There was no difference in the incidence of acute rejection and infections or in the prevalence of anti-HLA donor-specific antibodies.
DISCUSSION: In conclusion, after kidney transplantation, ATG-F is an independent risk factor for early RBC transfusion and early thrombocytopenia without clinical and biological consequences. These new data should be clinically considered, and alternatives to ATG should be further explored.