Monday, June 21, 2010

BK Virus Day 6

So after hitting the clinic 3 times in the last three months, it's been 3 times in the last 6 days. Plus a day in the Outpatient Clinic at Baylor Hospital. Combined with the broken foot, the medical front is getting intense again.

A little good news for a change! Creatinine was down to 2.0 from 2.2. Don't know if it means anything, but it sure beats another increase. Everything else was in the normal range except the red blood numbers are a little low. So I need to eat more steak and creamed spinach, I can do that!

Had an interesting conversation on the suject with Dr. Nesser, he's the director of the Dallas Transplant Institute (DTI) clinic. (Dr. Melton, who performed the biopsy and met with me in the hospital is the head Nephrologist for the Baylor Transplant Program.) Dr. Nesser correctly assumed that I had been googling BKV over the weekend and was curious as to what I had learned. Evidently I passed the test and  was relieved to find out that the information that I've propagated in the blog has been correct.

One point of clarification. Acquisition of the virus is usually accompanied by a mild cold after which antibodies are formed and the virus retreats to the urinary tract where it lies dormant until allowed to become active again by a round of immuno-suppressants. Thus BKV occurs mainly in kidney transplant patients and occasionally in HIV patients and bone marrow transplant recipients.

When researching it is important to look only at the most current studies. The field of inquiry is young and studies are usually limited to individual transplant clinics, so sample sizes are very small. Different clinics follow slightly different protocols, but results are about the same. For instance Dr. Nesser told me of a clinic that tests all patients regularly for BKV starting soon after transplant. Dallas Transplant Institute (my clinic) waits until the creatinine starts to increase to start testing. The early testing sounds like a good idea, but it's a lot more expensive and has not produced improved results. Bloodwork is a good indicator and works for measuring progress, but diagnosis can only be confirmed by a biopsy.

So for now I will be following Dr. Melton's course of treatment. He cut back my dosages of prednisone and Myfortic and left the Prograf intact for now. Dr. Nesser said that occasionally a mild urinary tract infection can aggravate the virus so he prescribed a regimen of an antibiotic to eliminate any possible infection.

We're heading out on the road to Santa Fe and Salt Lake City at the end of the week. When I get back I'll go the Outpatient Lab at Baylor for a blood draw and then a few days later (three weeks from today) I go back to the Dallas Transplant for another checkup and we will know if any progress has been made.

So. Everyone's up to date!

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