Graft Versus Host Disease After Intestinal Transplantation: A Single-center Experience

Stuart S. Kaufman*, Elsadig Hussan, Alexander Kroemer, Olga Timofeeva, Helena B. Pasieka, Juan Francisco Guerra, Nada A. Yazigi, Khalid M. Khan, Udeme D. Ekong, Sukanya Subramanian, Jason S. Hawksworth, Raffaelle Girlanda, Shahira S. Ghobrial, Thomas M. Fishbein, Cal S. Matsumoto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is an uncommon but highly morbid complication of intestinal transplantation (ITx). In this study, we reviewed our 17-y experience with GVHD focusing on factors predicting GVHD occurrence and survival. Methods. Retrospective review of 271 patients who received 1 or more ITx since program inception in 2003 with survival analysis using Cox proportional hazard modeling. Results. Of 271 patients, 28 developed GHVD 34 (18-66) d after ITx presenting with rash or rash with fever in 26, rectosigmoid disease in 1, and hemolysis in 1; other sites, mainly rectosigmoid colon, were involved in 13. Initial skin biopsy demonstrated classic findings in 6, compatible findings in 14, and no abnormalities in 2. Additional sites of GVHD later emerged in 14. Of the 28 patients, 16 died largely from sepsis, the only independent hazard for death (hazard ratio [HR], 37.4181; P = 0.0008). Significant (P < 0.0500) independent hazards for occurrence of GVHD in adults were pre-ITx functional intestinal failure (IF) (HR, 15.2448) and non-IF diagnosis (HR, 20.9952) and early post-ITx sirolimus therapy (HR, 0.0956); independent hazards in children were non-IF diagnosis (HR, 4.3990), retransplantation (HR, 4.6401), donor:recipient age ratio (HR, 7.3190), and graft colon omission (HR, 0.1886). Variant transplant operation was not an independent GVHD hazard. Conclusions. Initial diagnosis of GVHD after ITx remains largely clinical, supported but not often confirmed by skin biopsy. Although GVHD risk is mainly recipient-driven, changes in donor selection and immunosuppression practice may reduce incidence and improve survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E731
JournalTransplantation Direct
Issue number8
StatePublished - 19 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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