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Kidney allograft surveillance biopsy practices across US transplant centers: A UNOS survey.

BACKGROUND: The approach to the diagnosis and management of subclinical rejection (SCR) in kidney transplant recipients remains controversial.

METHODS: We conducted a survey through UNOS across US transplant centers regarding their approach to surveillance biopsies and reasons for the nonperformance of surveillance biopsies.

RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 106/238 centers (45%), and only 18 (17%) of the centers performed surveillance biopsies on all patients and 22 (21%) performed biopsy for select cases. The most common time points for surveillance biopsies were 3 and 12  months post-transplant. The common reasons for not performing biopsies were low yield (n = 44, 65%) and the belief that it will not change outcome (n = 24, 36%). The incidence of SC-TCMR was ≥ 10% among 39% of centers. The mean serum creatinine was slightly worse by 0.06 mg/dL at 1 year and 0.07 mg/dL at 3 years among centers performing biopsy, P < .0001. The. 1-and 3-year Observed-Expected (O-E) graft survival was similar among centers performing biopsies vs. those not performing biopsy (P = .07, .88).

CONCLUSION: Only 17% of US centers perform surveillance biopsies, with another 21% performing surveillance biopsies in select cases (among centers that responded to the survey). Greater uniformity in the approach and management of this condition is of paramount importance.

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