FK506-associated thrombotic microangiopathy: Report of two cases and review of the literature

Hernan M. Trimarchi, Luan Truong, Stephen Brennan, Juan M. Gonzalez, Wadi N. Suki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Background. FK506 is a recently developed immunosuppressant that has been useful in improving the survival of transplanted organs. Among the numerous adverse side effects of FK506, thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) stands out as an infrequent but severe complication. Methods. We report two cases of FK506-associated TMA and review the 19 previous reported cases. Results. From these 21 cases, the reported incidence of FK506-associated TMA is between 1% and 4.7%. It is more frequent in females, and the mean age at presentation is 47 years. Eighty-one percent of the cases occurred in patients with kidney allografts, and the remaining patients had liver, heart, or bone marrow transplants. Clinically, TMA was diagnosed at an average interval of 9.3 months from the time of transplantation. Patients may be asymptomatic or may present with the full-blown picture of hemolytic uremic syndrome. All patients had an elevated serum creatinine level but did not always show signs of hemolysis. Trough levels of FK506 were not predictive for the development of TMA, but generally a reduction of drug dose correlated with kidney function improvement and disappearance of the hemolytic picture. The renal allograft biopsy provided a conclusive diagnosis in all 17 cases in which this procedure was performed. Treatment, which mainly consisted of reduction or discontinuation of FK506, anticoagulation, and/or plasmapheresis with fresh-frozen plasma exchange, resolved TMA in most patients (57%). However, in one of these patients (5%), the graft was subsequently lost due to causes unrelated to TMA, such as acute or chronic rejection. Despite treatment, one patient (5%) lost the graft due to acute rejection and persistent TMA, and three other patients (14%) who had bone marrow, heart, and liver transplants, died of multiple organ failure, probably unrelated to TMA. In the remaining four patients (19%), response to treatment was not reported. Conclusions. TMA must be considered in organ transplant patients treated with FK506 whenever kidney function deteriorates, even in the absence of microangiopathic hemolytic anemia. Although TMA usually responds to treatment, it may, in rare cases, lead to loss of kidney function or even the patient's death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-544
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 27 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'FK506-associated thrombotic microangiopathy: Report of two cases and review of the literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this