Length of time on dialysis prior to renal transplantation is a critical factor affecting patient survival after allografting

J C West, J E Bisordi, E C Squiers, R Latsha, J Miller, S E Kelley
Transplant International 1992, 5: S148-50
Within the past year at our transplant center we have had the experience of performing renal allografts in two patients older than 65 years, each of whom had been on hemodialysis more than 10 years. Both resulted in patient mortality within 90 days of transplant (one due to myocardial infarction, the other due to visceral ischemia with infarction). This prompted us to review retrospectively our own data (n = 204) and the national (UNOS) data (n = 10,971) regarding transplant outcome, patient age, and length of time on dialysis prior to renal transplantation. This review revealed that patient mortality after transplant increased with the length of end-stage renal disease (dialysis, regardless of type) independent of age, the greatest mortality occurring within the first 6 months of transplant (and not thereafter); graft survival was similar for all age cohorts analyzed. Our review of the literature reveals a paucity of articles pertaining to post-transplant mortality and length of time on dialysis prior to transplant. Our results indicate the following possible conclusions. (1) The length of time of end-stage renal disease therapy prior to renal transplantation is a significant and independent risk factor for post-transplant mortality. (2) Higher priority should be given to this factor when formulating strategies for allocation of scarce resources. (3) Patients on dialysis for extended periods of time who are elderly may be at particularly high risk. (4) Patients being considered for renal transplant should be informed of their individual risk factors for mortality post-transplant based on length of ESRD therapy. (5) Renal transplantation should be considered as early as possible in patients with ESRD (or imminent ESRD).

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