Partial splenic ablation in preparation for renal transplantation in children

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric Surgery








partial splenectomy; partial splenic embolization.; Renal transplantation


Patients with end-stage renal disease who develop hypersplenism, patients with mild neutropenia, and those patients whose WBC fails to increase in response to cortisol administration will develop significant neutropenia following transplantation with routine doses of azathioprine. This "intolerance" of azathioprine mandates a reduction in the dose of azathioprine often resulting in allograft rejection. Splenectomy will prevent azathioprineinduced neutropenia, but the hazards of splenectomy in these immunosuppressed patients have led to attempts to salvage at least part of the spleen. Partial splenic ablation by embolization has been utilized in adults prior to transplantation to prevent azathioprine-induced neutropenia while preserving the spleen's protective mechanisms against infection. Eight children in our series of transplant candidates required a reduction of splenic function to prevent azathioprine induced neutropenia. One child had a functioning renal allograft but had recurrent neutropenia limiting the azathioprine dose. Partial splenic embolization was attempted in four children and was initially successful in two. Both patients later developed recurrent neutropenia and needed partial splenectomy. The two patients in whom partial splenic embolization was unsuccessful and five further patients in whom embolization was not attempted also underwent partial splenectomy. Approximately 75% to 80% of the spleen was resected. Six children have since undergone renal transplantation and one child had a transplant with chronic rejection at the time of partial splenectomy. Routine doses of azathioprine have been used in these children with no episodes of neutropenia or sepsis observed. We recommend partial splenectomy in those children requiring renal transplantation who are at risk for development of azathioprine induced neutropenia. © 1983 Grune & Stratton, Inc.

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