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The Predictors and Risk Factors of 2-Year Rejection in Renal Transplant Patients: A Multicenter Case-Control Study.

INTRODUCTION: Kidney transplantation is a definitive treatment for end-stage renal disease. It is associated with improved life expectancy and quality of life. One of the most common complications following kidney transplantation is graft rejection. To our knowledge, no previous study has identified rejection risk factors in kidney transplant recipients in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the specific risk factors of graft rejection.

METHODS: A multicenter case-control study was conducted at four transplant centers in Saudi Arabia. All adult patients who underwent a renal transplant between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2021 were screened for eligibility. Included patients were categorized into two groups (cases and control) based on the occurrence of biopsy-proven rejection within 2 years. The primary outcome was to determine the risk factors for rejection within the 2 years of transplant. Exact matching was utilized using a 1:4 ratio based on patients' age, gender, and transplant year.

RESULTS: Out of 1,320 screened renal transplant recipients, 816 patients were included. The overall prevalence of 2-year rejection was 13.9%. In bivariate analysis, deceased donor status, the presence of donor-specific antibody (DSA), intraoperative hypotension, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida, and any infection within 2 years were linked with an increased risk of 2-year rejection. However, in the logistic regression analysis, the presence of DSA was identified as a significant risk for 2-year rejection (adjusted OR: 2.68; 95% CI: 1.10, 6.49, p = 0.03). Furthermore, blood infection, infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or BK virus within 2 years of transplant, were associated with higher odds of 2-year rejection (adjusted OR: 3.10; 95% CI: 1.48, 6.48, p = 0.003, adjusted OR: 3.23; 95% CI: 0.87, 11.97, p = 0.08 and adjusted OR: 2.76; 95% CI: 0.89, 8.48, p = 0.07, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Our findings emphasize the need for appropriate prevention and management of infections following kidney transplantation to avoid more serious problems, such as rejection, which could significantly raise the likelihood of allograft failure and probably death. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to investigate the impact of serum chloride levels prior to transplant and intraoperative hypotension on the risk of graft rejection and failure.

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