Patients transplanted at a single institution between 2014 and 2020 with at least one SB at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months post-transplant were included. Additional biopsies were done for indication (IB). TCMR was classified by Banff criteria (score ≥i1t1).
Forty-seven patients had 142 biopsies (SB = 113, IB = 29); 19 (40.4%) of whom experienced at least one TCMR episode in the first-year post-transplant. The greatest SB yield of any pathologic abnormality was at 6 months (57.1%; P < .001). Six months also had the highest yield for TCMR (42.9%), compared with 3.3%, 20.8%, 15.0%, and 9.1% at 1.5, 3, 12 months, and 24 months, respectively (P = .003). SB instigated intensification of immunosuppression (28.3% cases), reduction of immunosuppression (2.7% cases), and other non-immunosuppressant changes (1.8% cases). The 6-month SB led to the greatest number of changes in management (53.6%), compared with 1.5, 3, 12, and 24 months (13.3, 20.8, 25.0, and 36.4%, respectively; P = .012). There were no major biopsy-related complications.
SBs identify an important burden of subclinical rejection and other pathology leading to changes in clinical management. The greatest yield was at 6 months, whereas the least utility was at the 1.5 months. Selection of SB timing may be tailored such that the optimal yield is balanced against the procedural risk.
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