Publications by authors named "Melissa Bleicher"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Kidney transplantation and donation in the transgender population: A single-institution case series.

Am J Transplant 2020 10 27;20(10):2899-2904. Epub 2020 May 27.

Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

The medical needs of the transgender population are increasingly recognized within the US health care system. Hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery present distinct anatomic, hormonal, infectious, and psychosocial issues among transgender kidney transplant donors and recipients. We present the first reported experience with kidney transplantation and donation in transgender patients. A single-center case series (January 2014-December 2018) comprising 4 transgender kidney transplant recipients and 2 transgender living donors was constructed and analyzed. Experts in transplant surgery, transplant psychiatry, transplant infectious disease, pharmacy, and endocrinology were consulted to discuss aspects of care for these patients. Four transgender patients identified as male-to-female and 2 as female-to-male. Three of 6 had gender-affirming surgeries prior to transplant surgery, 1 of whom had further procedures posttransplant. Additionally, 4 patients were on hormone therapy. All 6 had psychiatric comorbidities. The 4 grafts have done well, with an average serum creatinine of 1.45 mg/dL at 2 years (range 1.01-1.85 mg/dL). However, patients encountered various postoperative complications, 1 of which was attributable to modified anatomy. Thus, transgender kidney transplant patients can present novel challenges in regard to surgical considerations as well as pre- and posttransplant care. Dedicated expertise is needed to optimize outcomes for this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajt.15963DOI Listing
October 2020

Initial skin cancer screening for solid organ transplant recipients in the United States: Delphi method development of expert consensus guidelines.

Transpl Int 2019 Dec 8;32(12):1268-1276. Epub 2019 Oct 8.

Department of Dermatology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Skin cancer is the most common malignancy affecting solid organ transplant recipients (SOTR), and SOTR experience increased skin cancer-associated morbidity and mortality. There are no formal multidisciplinary guidelines for skin cancer screening after transplant, and current practices are widely variable. We conducted three rounds of Delphi method surveys with a panel of 84 U.S. dermatologists and transplant physicians to establish skin cancer screening recommendations for SOTR. The transplant team should risk stratify SOTR for screening, and dermatologists should perform skin cancer screening by full-body skin examination. SOTR with a history of skin cancer should continue regular follow-up with dermatology for skin cancer surveillance. High-risk transplant patients include thoracic organ recipients, SOTR age 50 and above, and male SOTR. High-risk Caucasian patients should be screened within 2 years after transplant, all Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, and high-risk African American patients should be screened within 5 years after transplant. No consensus was reached regarding screening for low-risk African American SOTR. We propose a standardized approach to skin cancer screening in SOTR based on multidisciplinary expert consensus. These guidelines prioritize and emphasize the need for screening for SOTR at greatest risk for skin cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tri.13520DOI Listing
December 2019

Single-center, real-world experience with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor for management of leukopenia following kidney transplantation.

Clin Transplant 2019 06 11;33(6):e13541. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

Department of Pharmacy Services, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Background: Leukopenia is a frequent complication following kidney transplantation. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) has been used to accelerate white blood cell (WBC) count recovery; however, published experience in kidney transplantation is limited.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our kidney transplant recipients from January 2012 to September 2016 with a G-CSF order to evaluate leukopenia management (defined as WBC <3000 cells/μL).

Results: Thirty-six recipients were included. On average, G-CSF treatment began at 98 ± 38 days. At G-CSF initiation, mean WBC count was 1240 ± 420 cells/μL and absolute neutrophil count (ANC) was 653 ± 368 cells/μL. Mean G-CSF dose was 4.6 ± 1.2 mcg/kg/dose (total 11.8 ± 9.0 mcg/kg), 77.8% of recipients were prescribed G-CSF as outpatients, and overall, median time to WBC count recovery was 9 (IQR 4-14) days. Changes in immunosuppression and prophylaxis regimens for leukopenia were also common. Within 1 month following leukopenia onset, no patients experienced acute rejection and 5 (14%) developed infection requiring hospitalization or opportunistic infection.

Conclusion: In kidney recipients with leukopenia, G-CSF may be helpful to achieve WBC count recovery in addition to changes in immunosuppression and prophylaxis medications. Prospective, randomized data are still needed to determine optimal G-CSF dosing in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ctr.13541DOI Listing
June 2019

Twelve-Month Outcomes After Transplant of Hepatitis C-Infected Kidneys Into Uninfected Recipients: A Single-Group Trial.

Ann Intern Med 2018 09 7;169(5):273-281. Epub 2018 Aug 7.

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (P.P.R., P.L.A., E.A.B., V.M.V., R.D.B., V.S.P., M.L., P.P., D.S., S.M.N., A.N., A.S., M.M., M.B., K.R.R., D.S.G.).

Background: Organs from hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected deceased donors are often discarded. Preliminary data from 2 small trials, including THINKER-1 (Transplanting Hepatitis C kidneys Into Negative KidnEy Recipients), suggested that HCV-infected kidneys could be safely transplanted into HCV-negative patients. However, intermediate-term data on quality of life and renal function are needed to counsel patients about risk.

Objective: To describe 12-month HCV treatment outcomes, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and quality of life for the 10 kidney recipients in THINKER-1 and 6-month data on 10 additional recipients.

Design: Open-label, nonrandomized trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02743897).

Setting: Single center.

Participants: 20 HCV-negative transplant candidates.

Intervention: Participants underwent transplant with kidneys infected with genotype 1 HCV and received elbasvir-grazoprevir on posttransplant day 3.

Measurements: The primary outcome was HCV cure. Exploratory outcomes included 1) RAND-36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) quality-of-life scores at enrollment and after transplant, and 2) posttransplant renal function, which was compared in a 1:5 matched sample with recipients of HCV-negative kidneys.

Results: The mean age of THINKER participants was 56.3 years (SD, 6.7), 70% were male, and 40% were black. All 20 participants achieved HCV cure. Hepatic and renal complications were transient or were successfully managed. Mean PCS and MCS quality-of-life scores decreased at 4 weeks; PCS scores then increased above pretransplant values, whereas MCS scores returned to baseline values. Estimated GFRs were similar between THINKER participants and matched recipients of HCV-negative kidneys at 6 months (median, 67.5 vs. 66.2 mL/min/1.73 m2; 95% CI for between-group difference, -4.2 to 7.5 mL/min/1.73 m2) and 12 months (median, 72.8 vs. 67.2 mL/min/1.73 m2; CI for between-group difference, -7.2 to 9.8 mL/min/1.73 m2).

Limitation: Small trial.

Conclusion: Twenty HCV-negative recipients of HCV-infected kidneys experienced HCV cure, good quality of life, and excellent renal function. Kidneys from HCV-infected donors may be a valuable transplant resource.

Primary Funding Source: Merck.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/M18-0749DOI Listing
September 2018

A clone-directed approach may improve diagnosis and treatment of proliferative glomerulonephritis with monoclonal immunoglobulin deposits.

Kidney Int 2018 07 11;94(1):199-205. Epub 2018 May 11.

Division of Nephrology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

The optimal treatment for the monoclonal gammopathies of renal significance is not known, but there is consensus among experts that treatment should be specific for the underlying clone. The majority of patients with proliferative glomerulonephritis with monoclonal immunoglobulin deposits (PGNMID) do not have an identifiable clone, and prior studies have found poor renal outcomes for patients with PGNMID treated with a variety of regimens. Here we present a retrospective case series of 19 patients with PGNMID with a more uniform, clone-directed approach. A circulating paraprotein was detected in 37% of patients, and the overall clone detection rate was 32%. Treatment was directed at the underlying clone or, for patients without a detectable clone, empirically prescribed to target the hypothesized underlying clone. Of the 16 patients who underwent treatment, the overall renal response rate was 88%, and 38% of patients experienced complete renal response (proteinuria reduction to under 0.5 gm/24 hours) with initial treatment. All patients were End Stage Renal Disease-free at last follow-up (median 693 days after diagnosis), and treatment was well tolerated. Thus, a clone-directed approach may lead to novel, targeted treatment strategies that could significantly improve outcomes for patients with PGNMID.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2018.02.020DOI Listing
July 2018

Safety and Feasibility of Outpatient Rabbit Antithymocyte Globulin Induction Therapy Administration in Kidney Transplant Recipients.

Pharmacotherapy 2018 06;38(6):620-627

Department of Pharmacy Services, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Background: Kidney transplant induction therapy often includes inpatient administration of rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG) over multiple days. To reduce hospital length of stay (LOS) and drug expenditures, the rATG induction course was completed in the outpatient setting via peripheral intravenous administration. The present study assesses early readmission trends ascribable to an outpatient rATG administration protocol to ensure initial reduction in hospital LOS is sustained early after discharge.

Methods: This was a retrospective study of kidney recipient outcomes for patients transplanted between January 1, 2008, and February 29, 2016, immediately following implementation of an outpatient rATG protocol. Readmission data within 7 days of outpatient rATG administration were collected. The relatedness of rATG administration to an adverse drug reaction resulting in readmission was determined by the World Health Organization-Uppsala Monitoring Centre Causality Assessment Scale and the Naranjo Adverse Drug Reaction Probability Scale.

Results: A total of 1104 patients received outpatient doses of rATG and were included. An upward trend in kidney transplant volume and outpatient rATG administrations per year was found from 2008-2015. Following protocol implementation, the percentage of overall readmissions ranged from 9% to just over 12% from 2008-2014 and remained less than 10% for 2014 through 2016. The percentage of outpatient rATG infusions that potentially led to rATG-related readmissions was less than 4% per year over the study period. A total of 1124 hospital days were saved, 125 days per year on average.

Conclusions: Outpatient administration of rATG is feasible, safe, and did not increase readmissions in the period directly following administration. The findings of this analysis support our continued use of the outpatient rATG protocol at our institution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/phar.2116DOI Listing
June 2018

Changes in vitamin D binding protein and vitamin D concentrations associated with liver transplantation.

Liver Int 2012 Feb 9;32(2):287-96. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Renal Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021, USA.

Background: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with fractures, infections and death. Liver disease impairs vitamin D and vitamin D binding protein (DBP) metabolism.

Aims: We aimed to determine the impact of liver transplantation on vitamin D, particularly on DBP and free vitamin D concentrations.

Methods: Serum 25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)(2) D and DBP concentrations were measured in 202 adults before liver transplantation and 3 months later in 155. Free vitamin D concentrations were estimated from these values. Risk factors for 25(OH)D deficiency (<20 ng/ml) and low 1,25(OH)(2) D (<20 pg/ml) were examined with logistic regression, and changes in concentrations following transplantation with linear regression.

Results: Pretransplant, 84% were 25(OH)D deficient, 13% had 25(OH)D concentrations <2.5 ng/ml, and 77% had low 1,25(OH)(2) D. Model for end-stage liver disease score ≥ 20 (P < 0.005) and hypoalbuminemia (P < 0.005) were associated with low 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)(2) D concentrations. Following transplantation, 25(OH)D concentrations increased a median of 17.8 ng/ml (P < 0.001). Albumin increased from a median of 2.7 to 3.8 g/dl (P < 0.001) and DBP from 8.6 to 23.8 mg/dl (P < 0.001). Changes in total 25(OH)D were positively and independently associated with changes in DBP (P < 0.05) and albumin (P < 0.001). Free 25(OH)D concentrations rose from 6.0 to 9.7 pg/ml (P < 0.001). In contrast, total 1,25(OH)(2)D concentrations rose only by 4.3 pg/ml (P < 0.001) and free 1,25(OH)(2D concentrations declined (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Serum total and free 25(OH)D and DBP concentrations rose substantially following transplantation, while 1,25(OH)(2) D concentrations showed modest changes and free 1,25(OH)(2) D decreased. Studies of the effects of vitamin D status on diverse transplant complications are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-3231.2011.02638.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566950PMC
February 2012

Donor-derived Strongyloides stercoralis infections in renal transplant recipients.

Transplantation 2011 May;91(9):1019-24

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Background: Donor-derived Strongyloides stercoralis infection occurs rarely after transplantation, and the risk factors are not well understood. We present cases of two renal allograft recipients who developed Strongyloides hyperinfection syndrome after receipt of organs from a common deceased donor who received high-dose steroids as part of a preconditioning regimen.

Methods: The two renal transplant patients who developed Strongyloides hyperinfection syndrome are reported in case study format with review of the literature.

Results: Microscopic examination of stool from one renal transplant patient and of tracheal and gastric aspirates from the other transplant patient revealed evidence of S. stercoralis larvae. Retrospective testing of serum from the deceased donor for Strongyloides antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was positive at 11.7 U/mL (Centers for Disease Control reference >1.7 U/mL positive). One patient was treated successfully with oral ivermectin. The other patient also had complete resolution of strongyloidiasis, but required a course of parenteral ivermectin because of malabsorption from severe gastrointestinal strongyloidiasis.

Conclusions: These case studies provide some of the best evidence of transmission of S. stercoralis by renal transplantation. Because of the high risk of hyperinfection syndrome and its associated morbidity and mortality, high-risk donors and recipients should be screened for Strongyloides infection, so that appropriate treatment can be initiated before the development of disease. This study indicates that parenteral ivermectin can be used safely and effectively in patients in whom severe malabsorption would preclude the effective use of oral formulation. These cases also suggest that reconsideration should be given for the safety of steroids in donor-preconditioning regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TP.0b013e3182115b7bDOI Listing
May 2011

Simultaneous liver-kidney transplantation in the MELD era.

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis 2009 Jul;16(4):268-77

Department of Medicine, Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Impaired kidney function is common in liver transplant candidates and portends heightened risk for both postoperative chronic kidney disease and mortality. The weighting of serum creatinine in the Model of End-stage Liver Disease classification for liver allocation has been accompanied by a proliferation of simultaneous liver-kidney transplants in recent years. In the absence of standardized criteria for allocating kidneys in this setting, there is a wide variation in combined organ transplants across transplant centers. This review discusses the issues surrounding simultaneous liver-kidney transplantation and proposes a strategy for selecting patients to receive both organs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.ackd.2009.05.005DOI Listing
July 2009

Kidney transplantation at the University of Pennsylvania: 1998-2008.

Clin Transpl 2009 :143-52

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Kidney transplantation at the University of Pennsylvania has grown substantially over the past 11 years. Although our transplant volume has increased primarily as a consequence of multiorgan transplants as well as the utilization of historically "marginal" allografts, our post-transplantation outcomes remain excellent in both children and adults. We attribute these outcomes to technical improvements in tissue typing and donor-recipient crossmatching, modification of immunosuppression protocols, and rigorous donor and recipient selection. In the next decade, we hope to substantially expand our living donor program and refine our overall donor and recipient selection process such that we maintain excellent post-transplant outcomes in the face of aging and increasingly comorbid donors and recipients. We further predict significant changes in post-transplant management of kidney recipients with respect to immunosuppression regimens. In particular, we anticipate the modulation of immunosuppression regimens in recipients with high titers of donor-specific antibody and the integration of B-cell specific immunosuppression into post-transplant patient care. Only time will tell whether such therapies will 1) improve long-term outcomes, 2) allow us to diminish the degree of non-specific pharmacologic immunosuppression currently in use, 3) or even promote donor-specific tolerance in kidney transplant recipients.
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July 2010

Stroke and its prevention in chronic kidney disease.

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2007 Nov 17;2(6):1343-51. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

This is a review of stroke mechanisms and management. The concept of stroke and transient ischemic attack and the recently proposed revision in definitions and controversies are discussed. We also discuss the use of antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs for stroke due to carotid and cardiac disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2215/CJN.04341206DOI Listing
November 2007

Percutaneous tendo-Achilles lengthening with a large-gauge needle: a modification of the Ponseti technique for correction of idiopathic clubfoot.

J Foot Ankle Surg 2004 Jul-Aug;43(4):263-5

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia University Hospital of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.

The Ponseti technique has become standard for the treatment of congenital idiopathic clubfoot. Treatment includes serial manipulations and casting, accompanied by percutaneous tenotomy of the Achilles tendon. In this article, the authors describe a modification in the Achilles tenotomy technique by using a large-gauge hypodermic needle in the outpatient setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.jfas.2004.05.012DOI Listing
October 2004