Association of Deceased Donor Acute Kidney Injury with Recipient Graft Survival

Caroline Liu, Isaac E. Hall, Sherry Mansour, Heather R. Thiessen Philbrook, Yaqi Jia, Chirag R. Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: The shortage of deceased donor kidneys for transplants is an ongoing concern. Prior studies support transplanting kidneys from deceased donors with acute kidney injury (AKI), but those investigations have been subject to selection bias and small sample sizes. Current allocation practices of AKI kidneys in the United States are not well characterized. Objectives: To evaluate the association of deceased donor AKI with recipient graft survival and to characterize recovery and discard practices for AKI kidneys by organ procurement organizations. Design, Setting, and Participants: Registry-based, propensity score-matched cohort study from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2013, in the United States. The dates of analysis were March 1 to November 1, 2019. From 2010 to 2013, a total of 6832 deceased donors with AKI and 15310 deceased donors without AKI had at least 1 kidney transplanted. This study used a 1:1, propensity score-matched analysis to match deceased donors with AKI to deceased donors without AKI and investigated outcomes in their corresponding kidney recipients. Exposure: Deceased donor AKI, defined as at least 50% or 0.3-mg/dL increase in terminal serum creatinine level from admission. Main Outcomes and Measures: Recipients were assessed for the time to death-censored graft failure and the following secondary outcomes: delayed graft function, primary nonfunction, and the time to all-cause graft failure. Results: Ninety-eight percent (6722 of 6832) of deceased donors with AKI were matched to deceased donors without AKI. The mean (SD) age of the 13444 deceased donors was 40.4 (14.4) years, and 63% (8529 of 13444) were male. A total of 25323 recipients were analyzed (15485 [61%] were male), and their mean (SD) age was 52.0 (14.7) years. Recipients were followed up for a median of 5 (interquartile range, 4-6) years. Deceased donor AKI status had no association with death-censored graft failure (hazard ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.95-1.08) or all-cause graft failure (hazard ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.93-1.02). The results were consistent after examining by AKI stage and adjusting for recipient and transplant characteristics. More recipients of AKI kidneys developed delayed graft function (29% vs 22%, P <.001). Few recipients (120 of 25323 [0.5%]) developed primary nonfunction regardless of deceased donor AKI status. Recovery and transplantation of AKI kidneys varied by organ procurement organization; most (39 of 58) had high recovery and high discard of AKI kidneys. Conclusions and Relevance: Deceased donor AKI kidneys transplanted in the study period had recipient graft survival comparable to that of non-AKI kidneys. This study's findings suggest that the transplant community should evaluate whether currently discarded AKI kidneys from donors without substantial comorbidities can be used more effectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1918634
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of Deceased Donor Acute Kidney Injury with Recipient Graft Survival'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this