Immunosuppressive Therapeutic Complications in a Lung Transplant Patient

Sofia Moreira-Silva, Catarina Pereira, Joana Urbano, Joana Pimenta, Carla Damas, Paula Dias, Fernando Frioes, Jorge Almeida


The number of lung transplants has increased in the last years. Besides, the complications of immunosuppressive treatment, such as infections, have also been raising. Another complication, although seldom described, is thrombotic microangiopathy associated with calcineurin inhibitors. We report a case of a 65-year-old woman with a 6-month bi-pulmonary transplant, admitted for pneumonia. Addressing the differential diagnosis, pneumonia in immunosuppressed patient, aspergillosis, CMV disease and acute rejection were considered. High levels of tacrolimus were identified. The patient evolved with multiple organ dysfunctions. Hemodialysis was started on the third day. On the 5th day, patient developed progressive anemia, leukopenia and thrombocytopenia, schistocytes were present on peripheral smear and Coombs test was negative. A thrombotic microangiopathy probably related to tacrolimus high levels was identified. Plasma exchange was initiated on the eighth day, and intensified on the 11th day, without success, and on 14th day, the patient died. We believe our case report is relevant, since thrombotic microangiopathy in lung transplant has rarely been described and lung transplant is a growing reality, as well as its complications. Furthermore, our case is more severe than the ones described in literature, possibly due to prolonged tacrolimus toxic levels and concomitant infection.

J Med Cases. 2015;6(12):596-599


Lung transplant; Immunosuppressive agents; Immunosuppressive therapeutics; Thrombotic microangiopathy; Calcineurin inhibitors; Hemolytic uremic syndrome

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