Background: The shortage of available kidneys for renal transplantation could be addressed, to some extent, by expanding the criteria for acceptance of marginal donors. The study of these criteria is limited by the selection of grafts actually retrieved and transplanted, therefore reduced to a study of risk factors. We have evaluated the potential of procurement renal biopies as an instrument for acceptance or refusal of donor kidneys for transplantation.
Methods: This was a prospective study of a consecutive series of 200 donors. Biopsies were performed by wedge technique at the donor operation and were evaluated for proportion of glomerulosclerosis, vascular and tubular changes, and interstitial fibrosis. The study included 387 renal grafts with a representative biopsy, transplanted, and followed-up for survival and functional evaluation; 24 hr creatinine clearance at 1 and 3 weeks, and 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.
Results: Factors associated with initial graft function included cold ischemia time, number of DR mismatches, tubular changes, although donor age showed the strongest correlation with short- and long-term level of graft function. DR mismatches and retransplantation appeared to be the only significant risk factors for graft loss. The proportion of glomerulosclerosis (mean 8%, range 0-48%) correlated with graft function in the simple regression analysis. However, when age was taken into account glomerulosclerosis did not correlate significantly with graft function. Furthermore, glomerulosclerosis as high as 25% or more had an acceptable 3-year graft survival rate of 74.7%.
Conclusion: Procurement biopsy provides only limited information for the decision whether or not to accept a kidney donor.