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Kidney Int. 2002 Nov;62(5):1875-83.

Mortality after kidney transplant failure: the impact of non-immunologic factors.

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Department of Nephrology, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



One third of cadaveric kidney transplant recipients suffer graft loss within five years of transplantation. Non-immunologic factors that predict mortality among non-transplant patients also may be potentially modifiable risk factors for mortality among patients with transplant failure.


Applying multivariate survival analysis to data from the United States Renal Data System, we determined the effect of immunologic or transplant related factors and non-immunologic factors on mortality in patients who initiated dialysis after kidney transplant failure in the United States between April 1995 and September 1998.


A total of 4741 patients were followed for a median +/- standard deviation of 15 +/- 11 months after initiation of dialysis after transplant failure. The majority of the 1016 (21%) deaths were due to cardiac (36%) or infectious (17%) causes. Patients in the following groups had an increased risk for all-cause mortality: older patients [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.04 per year, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.03-1.04], women (HR = 1.31, 95% CI 1.10-1.56), patients of white race (HR = 1.94, 95% CI 1.32-2.84), patients with diabetes (HR = 1.76, 95% CI 1.43-2.16), peripheral vascular disease (HR = 1.94, 95% CI 1.54-2.43), congestive heart failure (HR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.05-1.53), drug use (HR = 2.23; 95% CI 1.08-4.60), smokers (HR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.01-1.81), first transplant recipients (HR = 1.32, 95% CI 1.02-1.69), and patients with a higher glomerular filtration rate (GFR) at dialysis initiation (HR = 1.04 per mL/min higher, 95% CI 1.02-1.06). Those with private insurance (HR = 0.67, 95% CI 0.49-0.93) and higher serum albumin (HR = 0.73 per g/dL higher, 95% CI 0.64-0.83) had a decreased risk for all-cause mortality. Acute rejection, antibody induction, donor source, duration of graft survival and the maximum attained GFR during transplantation did not predict all-cause mortality.


Non-immunologic factors predicted mortality among patients with transplant failure but immunologic and transplant related factors did not. Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of co-morbid conditions and the complications of chronic kidney disease may improve the survival of patients with transplant failure.

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