Background. Optimizing antithymocyte globulin (ATG) dosage is critical, particularly for high-risk kidney transplant (KT) recipients without cytomegalovirus (CMV) prophylaxis. Methods. We studied 630 KT recipients with expanded criteria donors or panel reactive antibody ≥50% at Hospital do Rim, Brazil (January 1, 2013 to May 21, 2015) to determine whether a single ATG dose was safe and effective in patients without CMV prophylaxis. Patients received ≥4 doses (1-1.5 mg/kg/per dose) until June 17, 2014, when the induction protocol changed to a single ATG dose (3 mg/kg). We used Cox regression to compare the risk of CMV infection and acute rejection (AR) among KT recipients by ATG dose. Results. Adjusting for clinical and transplant factors, a single ATG dose was associated with a lower risk of CMV infection (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42-0.93; P = 0.02) and a similar risk of AR (aHR: 1.16; 95% CI, 0.47-2.83; P = 0.8), compared to multiple doses. We found no differences in death-censored graft loss (5.0% versus 4.8%, aHR: 1.06; 95% CI, 0.51-2.23; P = 0.9) or mortality (4.7% versus 3.4%; aHR: 1.42; 95% CI, 0.62-3.24; P = 0.4) at 1-year post-KT by ATG dose. Conclusions. In our study of high-risk KT recipients without CMV prophylaxis, a single ATG dose decreased the risk of CMV infection without increasing the risk of AR or compromising graft or patient survival.
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