Renal dysfunction is common after liver transplantation. However, there are only limited data on the predictors and natural history of renal dysfunction after liver transplantation. In this study, we determined independent predictors and the natural history of renal dysfunction in 172 consecutive liver transplant recipients. Survival and time to development of permanent renal dysfunction (renal dysfunction defined as a sustained decrease in estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of > 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 from baseline for at least 6 months, severe renal failure defined as absolute GFR < 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 for at least 6 months) were determined using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox regression analysis was used to test the independent effect of a given set of variables on time to development of such an event. Nine percent of patients required immediate dialysis, 35% developed permanent renal dysfunction, and 7% developed severe renal failure. The rate of decline in renal dysfunction was maximal, 6.5 mL/min/1.73 m2 /mo, at 1 month after liver transplantation. Pre-existing diabetes mellitus, major surgical infection, and waiting time on the transplant list were independent risk factors for immediate dialysis. Presence of serum creatinine > 1.2 mg/dL at any time before liver transplantation and a baseline GFR <70 mL/min/1.73 m2 were independent predictors of permanent renal dysfunction. Diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, and primary graft nonfunction predicted the development of severe renal failure. GFR stabilized around 9 months, and presence of decreased GFR > 30mL/min/1.73 m2 from baseline at 9 months predicted development of permanent renal dysfunction. An absolute GFR of <30mL/min/1.73 m2 occurring as early as 3 months after liver transplantation predicted severe renal failure. Severe renal failure was associated with a significantly lower survival by Cox regression analysis. We have identified risk factors and the natural history of permanent renal dysfunction and severe liver failure in liver transplant recipients. These observations may be useful in the development of nonnephrotoxic immunosuppressive regimens for high-risk liver transplant recipients.
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