Journal Article

Kidney transplantation from related and unrelated living donors in a single German centre

Adina Voiculescu, Katrin Ivens, Gerd Rüdiger Hetzel, Markus Hollenbeck, Wilhelm Sandmann, Klaus Grabitz, Kai Balzer, Frank Schneider and Bernd Grabensee

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 18, issue 2, pages 418-425
Published in print February 2003 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online February 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Kidney transplantation from related and unrelated living donors in a single German centre

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Background. Organ transplantation began in 1954 with living related donation (LRD). Because of organ shortage from cadavers, unrelated kidney donation (LURD) has been proposed and shown to have good results despite complete HLA mismatching. This study aims to look at differences and similarities comparing LRD and LURD performed in our centre since the implementation of the German transplant law in 1997.

Methods. Between January 1997 and July 2001, 62 out of 112 potential living donors and their recipients were accepted. Immunosuppression consisted of triple therapy (steroids, cyclosporin, mycophenolate) in patients with three or fewer mismatches, or quadruple therapy including mono‐ or polyclonal antibody treatment in patients with four or more mismatches or cytotoxic antibodies. LRD and LURD groups were compared for number and type of rejections, complications and kidney function at the end of observation (median 15.5 months, range 1–50 months).

Results. Out of 112 pairs presenting, transplantation was performed in only 62 cases (55.4%). Reasons to deny transplantation were medical problems of the potential donors in 19, psychological problems in 13, recipient problems in seven and other reasons in 11 pairs. In 38 cases LRD transplantation and in 24 cases LURD transplantation was carried out. Recipient age was significantly lower in the LRD group (37.7±12.1 years) compared with the LURD group (53.6±7.8 years). Mean donor age was 49.7±9.2 years in the LRD group and 50.3±9.1 years in the LURD group (ns). The number of mismatches was lower in LRD (2.1±1) than in LURD (4.4±0.9) (P=0.001) transplantation. The acute rejection rate was similar in both groups (52.2 vs 54.2%). OKT3 and tacrolimus rescue therapy for more severe rejections was more often applied in the LRD group but the difference did not reach the level of significance. There were more infectious complications in LURD transplantation (66.7 vs 36.4%, P=0.036) and a trend towards more surgical complications in LRD transplantation (28.9 vs 8.3%, P=0.062). One graft was lost due to transplant artery thrombosis and one recipient died 4 months after transplantation subsequent to cerebral ischaemia. Both patients belonged to the LRD group. Creatinine values at the end of observation time were 1.76±0.6 mg/dl in the LRD group and 1.62±0.5 mg/dl in the LURD group (ns).

Conclusion. Although kidney transplantation from unrelated donors was performed with a lower HLA match and although the recipients were older, the results are equivalent to living related transplantation. Therefore, kidney transplantation from emotionally related living donors represents a valuable option for patients with end‐stage renal disease. Careful selection of donors and recipients is a prerequisite of success.

Keywords: kidney transplantation; living kidney donation; related donors; unrelated donors

Journal Article.  5044 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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