Experimental and clinical transplantation : official journal of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation 2018 04 09() doi 10.6002/ect.2017.0123
Calciphylaxis is a rare disease characterized by calcification of small- to medium-sized blood vessels in the dermis and subcutaneous fat, resulting in cutaneous necrosis. Although most commonly shown in patients with end-stage kidney disease, it has also been reported in patients with other diseases, including alcoholic cirrhosis and malignancies. Here, we report an unusual case of calciphylaxis in an orthotopic liver transplant recipient with acute kidney injury. The patient, a 43-year-old white female with a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus, alcoholic cirrhosis, and normal kidney function, presented with decompensated liver disease and hepatorenal syndrome; she no longer responded to medical treatment and required treatment with dialysis. Ten days after admission, she underwent liver transplant, resulting in improved liver function tests. She had acute tubular necrosis (creatinine peak: 325 μmol/L) from sustained hypotension during and after surgery, which required 4 sessions of dialysis over 2weeks. Six weeks after her transplant, she developed painful, nonulcerating, erythematous plaques over her shins and thighs. Skin biopsy of the lesions showed calciphylaxis, calcium deposits, and thrombotic vasculopathy. She also developed severe hypercalcemia (calcium level of 2.75 mmol/L) from immobility, which required treatment with a bisphosphonate and hemodialysis. The lesions improved 6 weeks later, and her renal function returned to normal. Calciphylaxis diagnosed in an orthotopic liver transplant recipient with acute kidney injury has not been previously reported. We hypothesize that her chronic inflammatory state caused down-regulation and low levels of fetuin A and protein C. She also had other risk factors, including hypoalbuminemia, obesity, systemic glucocorticoids, and alcoholic liver disease. Calciphylaxis can occur in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis and acute renal failure even after liver transplant. Further studies into the pathogenesis of this disease may help us understand why it develops in these patients and not others with the same risk factors.