Journal Article

Do we need screening for thrombophilia prior to kidney transplantation?

Joachim Andrassy, Martin Zeier and Konrad Andrassy

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

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

Volume 19, issue suppl_4, pages iv64-iv68
Published in print July 2004 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online July 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Do we need screening for thrombophilia prior to kidney transplantation?

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Background. There is increased risk for the occurrence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and renovascular thrombosis after kidney transplantation. A disruption of the blood homeostasis caused by surgery and leading to clotting and bleeding malfunctions is widely accepted. However, other causes such as inherited or acquired disorders of the clotting system may further increase the risk of thrombosis. Here, we summarize and review data on possible causes, incidence and ways to prevent the occurrence of DVT and/or renovascular thrombosis after kidney transplantation.

Results. The incidence of DVT after kidney transplantation is 6.2–8.3% and ∼25% of these patients suffer from pulmonary embolism. The DVT occurs primarily on the side of the transplant with an increased risk throughout the first 5 months after transplantation. Thereby, 2–12% of the patients develop renovascular thromboses, most of which are related directly to the surgery. However, inherited or acquired thrombophilia may also play an important role. A severe course is known for prothrombin gene G20210A polymorphism, which can result in graft loss. A great diversity of prophylactic treatments is available but adjustment to the underlying circumstances is crucial for a favourable outcome. Low-dose heparin prophylaxis for at least 2–3 weeks can be used as standard therapy to prevent the occurrence of DVT after kidney transplantation. However, this may not be sufficient for concurrent disorders of the blood homeostasis such as elevated levels of antiphospholipid antibodies, lupus anticoagulant, prothrombin gene G20210A polymorphism or a combined inherited thrombophilia. These patients may need a prophylactic anticoagulation with coumarins starting prior to transplantation and being continued for at least 1 year or even lifelong. Only randomized trials can answer the question concerning optimal duration and safety of coumarins in this setting.

Conclusions. DVT and/or renovascular thromboses are severe complications after kidney transplantation. Inherited and acquired thrombophilia, apart from surgery and abnormal anatomy itself, have to be considered and proper prophylactic treatment initiated.

Keywords: deep venous thrombosis; haemostatic gene polymorphism; renal allograft thrombosis; renal transplantation; thrombophilia

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Nephrology

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